Thanks for joining us for today's Reddit AMA! Thanks for all the questions. We hope that you keep following along in the lead up to launch by following the Commercial Crew Program at https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew.


We’re going to be the first U.S. astronauts to launch from America since 2011. We’re excited to be launching a new era in American spaceflight with NASA’s partners, Boeing and SpaceX. Those companies are developing the Starliner spacecraft, which will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, and the Crew Dragon capsule launching atop the Falcon 9 rocket, respectively. These American-made spacecraft will be the first to launch from American soil to the International Space Station since NASA retired its Space Shuttle Program in 2011.

Proof

Here answering your questions are: * Bob Behnken who joined the astronaut corps in 2000 and performed six spacewalks totaling more than 37 hours.

  • Eric Boe was selected as an astronaut in 2000 and piloted space shuttle Endeavour for the STS-126 mission and Discovery on its final flight, STS-133.

  • Josh Cassada is a Navy commander and test pilot with more than 3,500 flight hours in more than 40 aircraft. He was selected as an astronaut in 2013. This will be his first spaceflight.

  • Chris Ferguson is a retired Navy captain, who piloted space shuttle Atlantis for STS-115, and commanded shuttle Endeavour on STS-126 and Atlantis for the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program, STS-135. He retired from NASA in 2011 and has been an integral part of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner program.

  • Victor Glover is a Navy commander, aviator and test pilot with almost 3,000 hours flying more than 40 different aircraft. He made 400 carrier landings and flew 24 combat missions. He was selected as part of the 2013 astronaut candidate class, and this will be his first spaceflight.

  • Mike Hopkins (Call sign: Hopper) is a colonel in the Air Force, where he was a flight test engineer before being selected as a NASA astronaut in 2009. He has spent 166 days on the International Space Station for Expeditions 37/38, and conducted two spacewalks.

  • Doug Hurley a test pilot and colonel in the Marine Corps before coming to NASA in 2000 to become an astronaut. He piloted space shuttle Endeavor for STS-127 and Atlantis for STS-135, the final space shuttle mission.

  • Nicole Mann is an F/A-18 test pilot with more than 2,500 flight hours in more than 25 aircraft. Mann was selected as an astronaut in 2013. This will be her first trip to space.

  • Suni Williams came to NASA from the Navy, where she was a test pilot and rose to the rank of captain before retiring. Since her selection as an astronaut in 1998, she has spent 322 days aboard the International Space Station for Expeditions 14/15 and Expeditions 32/33, commanded the space station and performed seven spacewalks.

Learn more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program at https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

Comments: 2105 • Responses: 135  • Date: 

FaderFiend2093 karma

How do the flight suits from both SpaceX and Boeing feel compared to the ones you’re used to flying with in the past?

Are there any distinct advantages that the new tech in these newly developed suits brings?

nasa2841 karma

Each spacecraft has its own spacesuit. They are more comfortable than past suits, and advancement in material technologies allow us to do things like use touch screens. Both new suits also are designed to make it easier to see inside the spacecraft. -Suni

bluelily171319 karma

Since quite a few of you have experienced travel on the space shuttle, (I know that during the talk it was mentioned that on these new ships it's like flying an iPhone) and we're obviously leaps and bounds past the tech that was available on the original shuttles - but what "updated tech" on these spaceships are you looking forward to most?

nasa1259 karma

We're looking for spaceflight to look a lot like flying a commercial airplane. It's safe and reliable, and provides transportation to space instead of another city - Chris

nasa1211 karma

For me, the revolution in the avionics is incredible. The displays are so much more capable and the vehicle inside is much cleaner with less switched and circuit breakers than what we had to deal with in the space shuttle. - Doug

Voyager_AU1088 karma

HI!

Besides safety, what are the most important things that you wanted improved or implemented into the design for the Dragon and Starliner capsules?

nasa1270 karma

Cupholders?

But seriously, safety is the most important but a close second is reliability.

- Hopper

nasa1033 karma

With today's technologies, automation in the spacecraft will help us do our tasks easier and allow us to have more capability. It is also nice to not have all of the complications of switches and buttons, like we did in shuttle. The new flat screens will make it easier to interact and control the spacecraft. -Suni

nasa473 karma

All the previous spacesuits were bulky, uncomfortable and hard to maneuver in. You're seeing a new wave of pressure suits that are more comfortable, lightweight and easy to wear. I know someone who did yoga in ours (Stephen Colbert). - Chris

nasa257 karma

The ease of operating the vehicle is important because it allows the astronauts to concentrate on all the other important things you need to focus on during the mission - Doug

orley894 karma

How were you assigned to the different spacecraft - was it personal preference or are there other factors to consider?

nasa1031 karma

I join a long line of Boeing test pilots. Boeing always flys the first flights with company test pilots and the Starliner is no exception. - Chris

nasa949 karma

For an astronaut, getting assigned to any spacecraft is a good day. The Chief of the astronaut office makes the decisions on flight assignments including which vehicle.

- Hopper

nasa574 karma

The the astronaut office asks us if we have a preference, and they take that into consideration, but there are other factors like what the mission will entail and the level of experience. -Suni

nasa386 karma

We were assigned by the chief of the Astronaut office. - Doug

BackflipFromOrbit654 karma

This question is for the Dragon Riders. How comfy is the SpaceX suit? It certainly looks cool and futuristic, but is it comfortable?

Edit: also congrats on the assignments! Truly, our destinies lie among the stars!

nasa701 karma

It is relatively comfortable for a space suit. The main reason we wear it is that it protects us from depressurization. It's designed to be robust. - Doug

nasa529 karma

Actually don't know, I have not put one on yet! Victor and I have only been measured and can't wait for our first chance.

- Hopper

ClaytonRocketry556 karma

What are the main differences between the Boeing Starliner and the SpaceX Dragon v2?

nasa668 karma

I wouldn't say there are any major differences. It's more subtle. The way they are laid out and how they operate are slightly different. For example, the Starliner has three seats in row and one at the feet of the other three, while the Dragon has all four seats in a row. - Doug

PM_ME_A_PLANE_TICKET413 karma

So is someone going to call shotgun in the Starliner?

(How do you decide who sits where?)

nasa649 karma

Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing's President and CEO, just called it . . . but only Eris Boe is qualified. - Chris

ninelives1450 karma

My question is for Victor. I was an intern at JSC last summer and you came and gave a really excellent talk. I really appreciated your openness, humility and honesty. I remember being really bummed that you hadn't been assigned to anything yet, so what did you do to celebrate when you were finally assigned? I know I was super excited to see you walk across the stage.

We spoke for a few minutes afterwards and there was a book you recommended about the current intellectual state of America but I don't remember what it was called. Any chance you remember?

Thanks, and congrats to you all!

P.s. thanks to Mike Hopkins for being understanding when you forgot your charger in WFCR and I confused you for someone else.

nasa553 karma

Thank you for the congratulations, this is super exciting for all of us. The book was called 'Anti-intellectualism in America.'

I actually found out last month and I was on a cruise ship, somewhere between Rome and Barcelona. So I guess that's how I celebrated! I didn't plan it, but if I had it wouldn't have been that cool. -Victor

mikeybfled408 karma

Was it a childhood dream for all of you to be an astronaut, or when did you decide that this is what you wanted to do?? Thanks for doing this AMA!!!

nasa968 karma

My original dream as a child was to be a truck driver but later in high school, after watching shuttle missions, I decided that being an astronaut was the job for me.

P.S. I'm still thinking about truck driving as a retirement job but my wife still needs some convincing.

- Hopper

nasa483 karma

When it became abundantly clear that my 80 mph fastball wasn't going to get me into the Major Leagues, I started thinking about this incredible career that combines my passions for science, aviation, service, and exploration. -Josh

nasa335 karma

I loved airplanes as a kid and later in my teenage years, I decided I wanted to be a pilot. And then that eventually led me to being an astronaut - Doug

IrrelevantAstronomer360 karma

My question is directed to the astronauts who previously flew on the Space Shuttle (Boe, Behnken, Ferguson, Hurley, Williams). The Space Shuttle, despite being as made as safe as possible by NASA by the time of its retirement, was still an incredibly risky and dangerous spacecraft. How do you feel the risk by flying on an Atlas V and Falcon 9 compares?

nasa559 karma

Atlas V has a very safe record. Falcon 9 is being flown more than any other rocket for experience. By the time we get on top of these rockets, our NASA and company engineers will have reviewed every piece of data to ensure they are ready to carry us to space. Rockets are cool!! -Suni

nasa417 karma

Any spaceflight mission is risky, but the NASA, Boeing and SpaceX teams are working very hard to make these vehicles as safe as possible. I'm confident that they will make these vehicles extremely safe and reliable. - Doug

nasa367 karma

I'll have no reservation climbing atop the ULA Atlas V - 77 successful missions and counting. - Chris

nalyd8991315 karma

Hello! I’m an aerospace engineering student who has found himself doing Ergonomics and cockpit design in Formula SAE. So my question is, what do you feel makes a spacecraft cockpit a good cockpit? When you saw your new spacecraft for the first time, what did you get excited about and what made you worried? What issues have you seen in terms of bad Ergonomics design?

nasa416 karma

Ergonomics is a very important part of a spacecraft cockpit but there are challenges. There are many tradeoffs in engineering where, say you may want to place a display but are restricted because a structural brace or support may need to be in the same space. The solution is to come up with a compromise. What makes a good cockpit - given the technology of the day, is one which decreases your workload with good presentation of the necessary information to operate the vehicle. - Eric

grouchyy304 karma

From my daughter, 4th Grader from Walnut, CA....

Hi I'm Melanie, and I participate in First Lego League. We are learning about space. Our theme is "Into Orbit". Humans are trying to get to Mars. If they get to Mars, will they get Mars germs? Will humans get sick from Mars germs? If so, they can't go to a doctor so how will they get better? How are astronauts protected from getting germs in space? Thank you!

nasa368 karma

We are very careful to not take Earth germs to a new planet (or moon) when we visit. Also, when we come back from a new place, they put the astronauts in a quarantine facility (a room that will keep the germs inside) just in case there is a problem. -Bob

ninelives1301 karma

For any of you that this applies to, how does the comfort of your new vehicle compare to the cramped environment of the Soyuz?

And to all of you:

  1. Who is your favorite astronaut? My vote is for Don Pettit.

  2. What is your favorite flight controller console? :)

  3. What food will you miss the most while on station and what will be your go to sauce for spicing things up while there?

Congrats to you all and thanks for taking the time to answer :)

nasa402 karma

I don't know but I'll be able to tell you soon! I don't expect it to be quite as cozy as the Soyuz though.

  1. My newest favorite astronaut is my crew mate Victor Glover.
  2. Capcom of course.
  3. Anything fresh will be missed and thanks to Karen Nyberg, I was introduced to garlic paste while on station and I plan to ensure there is plenty onboard when I arrive!

- Hopper

nasa358 karma

Soyuz is a great vehicle. However, it is small. Sitting inside the Soyuz for a long time was uncomfortable, because your knees are bent up to your chest. The new spacecraft have more volume inside, which allows your legs to be bent at an angle, similar to when you sit in a chair. -Suni

nasa320 karma

  1. Don is an excellent choice. For my favorite, I'm leaning towards the one who assigned me to a space flight. - Josh

nasa247 karma

While I've never flown the Soyuz, I've done training inside the Soyuz simulator. These vehicles are roomier and are designed to be bigger since they needed to be capable of carrying four people - Doug

nasa235 karma

Astronauts have all the respect in the world for their flight directors. Shoutout to ours: Bob Dempsey, Richard Jones, Ed Van Cise and Mike Lammers. - Chris

ninelives1290 karma

As the Space Station is slowly reaching its end of life, what do y'all hope to see for the station after NASA gives it up (deorbit/commercial takeover)? And what do you hope to see for NASA after the station program is over. What is your ideal vision with Gateway and beyond? I know there's a lot to be fleshed out regarding Gateway so I'm curious what visions y'all have in your heads for it?

Thanks again :)

nasa439 karma

So, as you know, the Space Station is an amazing laboratory, but it's primarily where we get good at living and working in space -- it's our technical launch pad to the future. That's the Gateway, moon, and beyond. And that's the cool thing about science and exploration -- if we knew what we were going to find before we went, we wouldn't go. Here we go. Good luck to the next generation of space explorers. -Josh

carolrae169 karma

My question is for Nicole and Suni. I am a first-year college student, majoring in aerospace engineering. My biggest dream is to go to space, or assist others in doing so, and I simply can’t think of any greater goal to dedicate my life to accomplishing. Life outside of earth? Insane. So, what is your advice to those who look up to you and wish to follow in your path? What is the best way to get there? How did you?

Thank you so much!! Good luck to you all!!

nasa278 karma

There is no one path. When you pursue something you love, you will naturally excel. I recommend you study one of the STEM fields in college. And remember, the space business is also a team sport. Every time we fly, there are people around the Earth keeping us safe. Working well in a team is a key component to being a successful astronaut.

Study hard and I hope to work with you someday.

-Suni

nasa172 karma

It sounds like you are on the right track. Getting a solid education is the first step and will open up many opportunities for you in the future. I think doing something you love and feel passionate about is important and will give you the drive to succeed. Don't forget to have fun while you are at it. -Nicole Mann

fletc94149 karma

Thank you all for your enthusiastic and informative responses during the crew announcement ceremony. A special thanks to Mr. Cassada and Mr. Glover for your humble responses to the question regarding your feelings on flying an American-made spacecraft. This leads to my question to whomever wishes to answer:

What is the message and inspiration you hope the public takes from the development of an all-American mission today?

nasa330 karma

I hope that this is the beginning of the end of Americans thinking that NASA is closed or that we are not flying and operating in space. It was said today that the Space Station has been continuously manned for almost 18 years, which means there's a whole generation of people coming into adulthood that have lived their whole lives under Americans living in space. -Victor #LaunchAmerica

cuddlefucker130 karma

Absolutely exciting! For my question, do any of you have aspirations to travel to mars for exploration purposes? Colonization purposes?

nasa263 karma

One step at a time...

We astronauts are excited for any chance to fly in space, whether it is to low-Earth orbit, to the moon or on to Mars.

In terms of colonization, I don't think I could convince my wife.

- Hopper

nasa188 karma

Absolutely! The only way we are going to know more about our planet is to go somewhere else. The journey will help us discover more about ourselves and our planet. -Suni

nasa151 karma

Yes I would love to go to Mars! However, we have a few more years of research and development to get our spacecraft ready to see the red planet with humans (and hopefully me). - Eric

nasa118 karma

It would be incredible to do an exploration mission to Mars, but there's a lot of work needing to be done to get ready for such a mission. - Doug

iamgruth113 karma

What do you consider to be your favorite works of fiction (literature, games, films, anime, etc.) about astronaut life or space in general?

How accurate are they to reality?

nasa193 karma

I loved reading "The Martian" -- but I remember doing a PR event before I had finished and I had to ask the crowd not to tell me if things didn't turn around for Dr. Watney. It certainly wasn't looking good for him, but the technical aspects of the book were amazing. -Josh

nasa159 karma

I agree. "The Martian" is a great read. - Eric

nasa166 karma

The Martian by Andy Weir. The most technically accurate about human space exploration so far. - Chris

kevinjm1992113 karma

Does anyone ever pull any awesome (but harmless!) pranks in space?

nasa190 karma

Absolutely, but I'm sworn to secrecy - Doug

Pozpenguin112 karma

Were you all chosen for this first set of launches because of your pilot and test pilot experience? What other factors contribute to this sort of selection from the larger astronaut pool?

nasa142 karma

Our background as test pilots and engineers was a consideration for this stage of these new vehicles. As far as other factors, you'll have to ask our boss!

- Hopper

WickedSushi93 karma

What space food was your favorite?

What space food was your least favorite?

nasa174 karma

I'm a rookie, but one of my favorite classes during my Astronaut training was tasting space food. My favorite thing about space food is the variety. It's like normal food here on the ground. My least favorite thing about it is they limit how much coffee we can drink. -Victor

nasa162 karma

Favorite: Spaghetti and meatballs. In space, the water tension of food helps make it easier to eat so it sticks to your fork quite well. In microgravity, spaghetti is actually less messy in space as you don't have gravity pulling the noodles down on to your chin.

Least favorite: Anything that I've already had too often. Eating is something you look forward to in space so I wanted a lot of variety. We're very busy all of the time up there so eating is a good time to get together as a crew and is an important part of a busy day. - Eric

nasa122 karma

I liked the lasagna, but I loved the Russian cottage cheese! It is important to have a lot of selection in space food and ways to make it tasty. I specifically liked wasabi, garlic, and pesto sauce to spice up my mundane food. -Suni

nasa93 karma

I love space food on Earth and off. But my favorite by far is Crawfish Etouffee. - Chris

last_reddit_account284 karma

Is the flight Dragon cockpit as heavily dependent on touchscreen interfaces as the mockups and renderings we've seen in the past, or was that just SpaceX's artistic license standing in for more traditional controls?

nasa132 karma

Yes, current layout of the SpaceX Crew Dragon utilizes touchscreens as the primary interface. There are some critical functions that you always want to have an analog option for (buttons.)

- Hopper

weirdparadox83 karma

Seeing all the news about the possible shutdown of the ISS is disheartening, though it has served some purpose.

What are your opinions about what should actually be done to the ISS?

I would really appreciate an answer and congratulations!

nasa110 karma

Nothing has been decided yet, and so we're going to continue to operate the Space Station for the next several years. We should keep taking advantage of that. It is a great technical achievement not only by NASA and the United States but for all the international partners. - Doug

nasa88 karma

The station still has a lot of really good years ahead of it and the teams on the ground and in space will ensure we get the maximum benefit from this incredible engineering achievement.

Having already lived onboard, I've seen up close the crazy amazing science taking place and just know that there is more to come!

- Hopper

nasa87 karma

The International Space Station is a great laboratory. It would be a shame to not use it to its full potential, either by NASA and the international partners, or by commercial companies. -Suni

psolidgold83 karma

Thank you for doing the AMA and congratulations to the crew.

My question is around collaboration in testing and standardization between NASA and private companies such as Boeing and SpaceX. I can imagine that capsules built by different companies are very different from an operational standpoint. What challenges do you face in training for a new capsule? Is there a crew feedback loop to suggest changes to the designs? Are you going to be expected to switch between a starliner and a dragon for various missions or will your training be specialized to a specific capsule? Thank you!

nasa102 karma

For the last three years, NASA astronauts have been working with the companies on all of the crew interfaces to the spacecraft. You are right. Both are different, but they both accomplish the same goal. Having unique approaches fosters innovation and advancements in technology, making these spacecraft better and better. I think we would all love to train and fly both spacecraft! -Suni

nasa79 karma

One of the reasons that we are in this position is because we have a background in flight test and space flying experience. We're able to adapt to a lot of different ways to operate a spacecraft. There is a significant collaboration between NASA and the companies to make these vehicles operate with relative ease. There is a constant feedback loop with regard to changes and improvements that might help in this goal. Each of us will specialize in one capsule before flying - Doug

kinnomRMY78 karma

How do the spacecraft and spacesuits feel?

nasa119 karma

The spacesuits are much more comfortable than those from the shuttle days: lighter, simpler, require less cooling, and easier to work with. The technology from these suits came from those of the past. - Eric

masahawk78 karma

Do you still need to learn Russian?

nasa133 karma

Absolutely. Several of our crew members as well as modules of the International Space Station are Russian. Also, I think most of us appreciate the many cultures and languages present on-board the International Space Station and embrace the languages, foods, and other cultural aspects of each other. -Victor

nasa68 karma

Not for the test flights, since we will be a visiting crew during the short mission to the Space Station. We are concentrating on the design and development of the Crew Dragon capsule which is a huge focus of our efforts. - Doug

rhoracio74 karma

big congratulations to you all!

Q: would you please explain does SpaceX'es helmet visor open?

nasa118 karma

The visor does open. We normally have it open on our way to the pad, but closed for launch and for entry. -Bob

nasa99 karma

Yes. There's two push buttons about where your chin is. They allow it to pop open whenever you need it to. - Doug

reutgol74 karma

If you had to fight over what would be your crew's take off song, who would win and what would be the song?

nasa129 karma

Victor doesn't stand a chance. As far as the song, I've got plenty of time to decide but Crazy Train is an early front runner.

- Hopper

nasa91 karma

The CDR (Spacecraft Commander) will always win, though I'm sure he or she will seriously consider the sage advice of their crewmates. And if you want to know ours, stay tuned.... -Victor

nasa82 karma

We'll have to duke it out and let you know. I like Viva La Vida by Coldplay. Bim? Duke? - Fergy

Arswag2771 karma

Any advice for aspiring astronauts? Also how are the suits?

nasa149 karma

Study hard. Stay in school. Be persistent. And don't let anyone tell you no (unless it's your mother). - Chris

nasa114 karma

Follow your dreams and do a good job at all you do. It also really helps if you learn to love what you are doing, you'll do better and be much happier. If you are happier, the other astronauts are much more likely to want to go on a mission with you! The suits are awesome! -Bob

weirdparadox65 karma

What would you consider to be your ultimate astronaut milestone?

To be more clear, what's something that you consider to be at the top of your astronaut careers?

Really looking forward to this!

nasa164 karma

For any astronaut, reaching space and safely returning home is the ultimate milestone. However, I do have a dream and that is to walk on the moon. -Victor

nasa105 karma

For many astronauts, the opportunity to go outside the space station on a spacewalk is about as ultimate as it gets.

- Hopper

nasa105 karma

I would say training a new generation of explorers! It will be super rewarding to see these guys take the reins and get ready to fly Orion back to the Moon and eventually on to Mars. -Suni

nasa77 karma

I've been hugely fortunate in that regard flying on STS-127, STS-135, and now Crew Dragon. I couldn't have possibly hoped for three incredible opportunities to fly to space. - Doug

nasa63 karma

The best is yet to come. Go Starliner! - Chris

slom6856 karma

Can you speak to your missions and assignments?

nasa90 karma

Bob and I were assigned to fly the first test flight of the Crew Dragon. We will be conducting a full mission profile from launch to docking at the International Space Station and return to Earth. So all aspects of that mission will continue to be worked closely with SpaceX to make sure it is a success. - Doug

nasa89 karma

Victor and I will be on a long-duration flight, so we'll essentially be flying what we consider a standard Expedition on the space station these days. The only difference is we'll be getting there on a new vehicle!

- Hopper

beccadoiron51 karma

This is a general question, can astronauts have tattoos? Or does it disqualify you from being an astronaut? Thanks much <3

nasa86 karma

i'm not the only one. -suni

nasa72 karma

Of course. - Chris

Dan2749 karma

You have experienced both vehicles in mockups during simulator testing. One question I'd like to ask is this: Is there anything non-functional (dare I say it, luxurious?) surprises that you never experienced in shuttle missions that you have in the Commercial Crew program?

nasa70 karma

The use of tablets, which are functional, are unique and fun. Now I don't have to carry a paper sudoku book! -Suni

nasa64 karma

Both vehicles are simpler to operate but are smaller in volume compared to the Space Shuttle. While the Space Shuttle gave us lots of room to move around, these vehicles are far more cozy. However, they are roomier than our current ride, the Soyuz. -Doug

cain200330 karma

Which one of you is grabbing the flag!!!? Did someone call dibs? Or is Rock Paper Scissors once you get up there? Or is it mission commander pulls rank... period. I’d get it if it’s the last one lol

nasa53 karma

My guess is whoever gets there first. - Doug

TheRealStepBot50 karma

Both the SpaceX and Boeing missions have a crewmember of STS-135, the last shuttle mission that left the flag on the space station as part of their crew. Specifically, Chris Ferguson was the commander of STS-135 and will be flying on the Boeing manned test flight while Doug Hurley was the pilot for STS-135 and will be flying on the SpaceX manned test flight.

As such its probably going to come down to which company gets there first, which following Boeing's recent setbacks is looking to be SpaceX and as a result, the SpaceX crew comprised of Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. Thereafter I assume that within the crew the honor will likely go to the crewmember who was a part of STS-135 who also happens to be the senior crewmember. This obviously maximizes the symbolic "we are back" imagery.

All of which is to say barring major issues at SpaceX over the next 3-6 months it's likely going to be Doug Hurley.

nasa53 karma

There's still a lot of work to be done. When the NASA and SpaceX teams are good to go, we'll go get it. - Doug

GISP28 karma

Besides taking a good hard look out of the cupola after settling in, what is the first thing youll all do after ariving?

nasa52 karma

Find your toothbrush and your bedroom. It's typically been a long day by the time you get there.

- Hopper

Parsac27 karma

Have you experienced anything new or exciting that you had to learn in the simulation/training that was especially different from other spacecraft?

nasa83 karma

Everything is in English this time!

- Hopper

nasa45 karma

Both companies are using different philosophies for the displays and controls for each vehicle. In a lot of ways, they are much easier than the aircraft and spacecraft that I've flown in the past. - Doug

Nobiting26 karma

Do you ever get cabin fever in the ISS and miss going outside into nature?

nasa52 karma

I hope not because that first step is a doozy. The station is actually quite roomy inside though I did miss feeling a breeze on my face and the rain.

- Hopper

nasa50 karma

Yes, the smell of the earth is something every astronaut recognizes when the return. Spacewalks do make up for the cabin fever though! -Bob

SkywayCheerios23 karma

For the veteran astronauts: from your testing and training so far, what's the biggest difference you notice in the Starliner/Dragon capsules compared to other spacecraft you've flown in, such as the Shuttle or Soyuz?

nasa40 karma

There's significantly less switches and controls relative to the space shuttle with a much more efficient and ergonomic design in general. - Doug

Bizzniches23 karma

I’ve always wondered, what does the transition to weightless feel like? Is it a very sudden transition? At what point do you feel weightless?

nasa56 karma

It is totally sudden! As soon as the engines shutdown, you can't escape microgravity. You are floating - everything from your hair to your spacesuit! It's super fun! -Suni

nasa37 karma

It happens quick. When the engines shutdown, you feel it. -Bob

Faesrollvtwo23 karma

What will be your last meal before you leave?

nasa74 karma

I have always eaten a turkey sandwich with jalapeno potato chips. True story. -Bob

spacefanatic4222 karma

Would you consider being apart of BFR fight test operations?

nasa22 karma

I'm concentrating on the Crew Dragon right now, so we'll see what happens after successfully flying that in space. - Doug

btempp22 karma

What do you look forward to the absolute most about your trek?

nasa69 karma

Because this is going to be my first time flying in space, every moment of this journey is the first time that I will get to experience that thing--whatever it is. First launch. First hatch opening. First spacewalk. First entry and first landing. I'm really looking forward to all of those firsts. -Victor

nasa41 karma

Putting the spacecraft through its paces - testing all of the new capabilities, equipment, and working with the great teams that make spaceflight possible. - Eric

nasa40 karma

Really just being part of a whole new era of human spaceflight.

- Hopper

nasa38 karma

While I am excited about launching on a new U.S. spacecraft, I am really excited about being able to bring the International Space Station up to its full potential, by launching with three fellow astronauts/cosmonauts. -Suni

nasa38 karma

John Young used to say that it's not what you do in space, instead it is about who you fly with and who you work with. And that's what I'm most looking forward to. - Doug

nasa7 karma

Coming back. Successful mission complete. -Josh

Hubble-Gum21 karma

How do you feel about that? Are you excited? Are you scared even a little bit?

nasa71 karma

Excited? Heck, yeah. Scared even a little? Sure. There's always risk in doing something worth doing. Courage is being afraid, but going anyway. -Josh

nasa59 karma

We're all trained test pilots with ice running through our veins (of course we're excited). - Chris

nasa58 karma

We are very excited to fly these new spacecraft! Through training, we minimize fear. Example: many people worry about their airline flight but in fact the most dangerous part of the trip is driving to and from the airport in a car. We are however not generally as scared of that drive...but probably should be given the relative risk. Training helps you understand the things that cause fear and characterize them more accurately. We know there is risk, but we want to take smart risk which push the frontier further. - Eric

nasa52 karma

Equal parts excited and really excited. Haven't had enough time to be scared yet.

- Hopper

nasa37 karma

Excited, of course, not scared. This is our job and we love every opportunity we get to fly! -Suni

upblack20 karma

What’s your favorite type of cheese and does your answer change when you’re in space?

nasa30 karma

Parmigiano-Reggiano and I haven't had it in space so if you can convince my bosses to let me bring it up, that would be greatly appreciated (we don't have a way to keep things like cheese from spoiling and mold on station would be bad.)

- Hopper

nasa24 karma

Grated Parmesan. And there's no way that NASA is going to let me take that into microgravity. I'll let you know if I find a new favorite when I'm up there. -Josh

Fatema1814 karma

First of all congratulations to all the astronauts selected for this commercial crew program!! You guys are truly heroes in my eyes!! My question is: What was the most challenging part of your training to become an astronaut and how did you overcome it?

nasa20 karma

Everyone has different challenges because there are some many things to prepare for during each mission. For me, that was the challenge. Being ready for so many things all of the time! -Bob

kevin-chen1414 karma

Congratulations on your assignments and being able to return human spaceflight to the United States. My questions are when did you get your assignments, and are you hopeful that you can fly on future American vehicles such as the Orion, the SpaceX BFR, the Blue Origin Crew Vehicle, and other future American vehicles?

nasa25 karma

We found out officially about a month and a half ago. My concentration now is on the successful text mission for the Crew Dragon and after we get back, we can start to think about what is next. - Doug

nasa21 karma

We just found out recently and are happy to be able to share it now with everyone else! As far as other American vehicles, it's always exciting as an astronaut to fly on a new vehicle.

- Hopper

grey_carbon13 karma

Boeing will have plans someday to work on reusable systems for the starliner?

nasa29 karma

The Starliner is reusable up to 10 times. - Chris

aldotcom12 karma

Did any of you ever go to Space Camp in Alabama?

nasa16 karma

I wasn't a Space Camper, but in college, I was a summer intern at the Marshall Space Flight Center (where I bought my first NASA "worm" ball cap). While at MSFC, we had a chance to teach Shuttle classes to elementary and middle school teachers, so that they could bring the lessons back to their classrooms. A super cool summer. -Josh

christinaremterUSA11 karma

is there a bathroom on the new commercial flights? dragon and starliner crew

nasa19 karma

For Dragon, yes. -Bob

j-rocc11 karma

What do you do when there is a fire?

nasa26 karma

Stop, drop and roll!

But seriously, if there is a fire in space, we evacuate the area and shut down the airflow to the fire which should starve it of oxygen and it will go out.

- Hopper

MajorRocketScience10 karma

My question is too all of the astronauts, but more likely this pertains to the Dragon Riders. Have you been at any talks or training with SpaceX related to the design or anything else of SpaceX’s BFR?

nasa23 karma

We haven't had much interaction with the BFR activities. We are focused on the Crew Dragon! -Bob

Kate-in-Texas9 karma

My question is for Nicole Mann. This is your first time to space. What type of things have you done to prepare for your mission? Thank you. Congratulations and I hope you enjoy your first time to space! 🇺🇸

nasa13 karma

Thanks Kate. We undergo extensive training here at Johnson Space Center to prepare for space. Specifically to CST-100, we train in simulators and mock-ups to learn procedures and how to operate in space. Additionally, we undergo emergency training to learn how to keep ourselves and the vehicle safe should something go wrong. -Nicole Mann

shibbster9 karma

How do we best combine decades of government-driven space flight with private enterprise and the interests therein?

nasa13 karma

We are really looking forward to flying these commercial spacecraft. NASA's partnership with commercial companies is the next step in human exploration and it will allow us to accomplish more than ever before. -Nicole Mann

nasa11 karma

NASA has a learned a lot in 50 years of human spaceflight. This knowledge has provided both companies a jumping off point to enhance their designs with technology that has emerged since we last developed NASA spacecraft. The public-private partnerships has also spurred competition, so that we a diverse commercial space industry in the U.S. - Suni

AstroAdrian9 karma

Now that we have several launch vehicles available, how will the pace of ISS operations change? What does NASA and the international community have in mind with the increased capability? How many more astronauts will we have in space now at any given time?

nasa13 karma

It's going to be a complicated calendar to organize as cargo and crew vehicles come and go. With the new commercial crew vehicles configured with four seats, we'll now have an additional crew member from the United States and our international partners. The Space Station crew can go up to seven with these new vehicles in the mix. - Doug

nasa10 karma

We should have seven astronauts in space after we start flying rotational missions to the station. The plan is to fly two commercial spacecraft and two Soyuz per year, which means we can do more research with the increased crew size. -Suni

SloppyTop237 karma

For members of Crew Dragon. How does this monumental moment feel? To know that you all will be launching on the first private launch company to take humans to space. How does this stack up to other missions knowing this is the literal pathway to the future of human spaceflight? Thank you.

nasa13 karma

It's still a bit surreal to now know that I'm going to be flying on the Dragon. I couldn't be more honored or excited to be part of this next step in Human Spaceflight. - Doug

Aj8346 karma

How long are these missions supposed to last for? Couple of days, a week? And how is the crew that's going to return from the ISS using these spacecraft feeling?

nasa9 karma

They're supposed to last anywhere from 10 days to 6 months. The same crew that will take the spacecraft to the space station will bring it back to Earth, so they'll be very familiar with it. - Chris

F111D6 karma

Could you discuss lessons learned from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules that you applied to the Crew Dragon and Starliner? Was there any reachback to astronauts on those programs for their insights?

nasa6 karma

I'm not sure about any reachback, but it's certainly building on a capsule design that is extremely reliable and safe. Additionally, there's a launch abort capability throughout the entire ascent and then we've built upon that with the advances in technology to make a safe and reliable vehicle. - Doug

xenonminer6 karma

to all astronauts: How often does a spacecraft get hit by space debris?

nasa9 karma

Great question, we normally try to avoid getting hit. Usually a couple of times a year we actually move the ISS to avoid getting hit by anything large. But, we can't always tell it when something is coming. During my space walks I did come across things that had slipped through and hit the ISS. -Bob

Ciscoblue1136 karma

What form of popular entertainment (movie, tv show, game etc) do you believe most realistically captured what it's like in space while also being entertaining?

nasa7 karma

Books, because your imagination is the only thing that gets close to how amazing the real thing feels.

- Hopper

Nuranon5 karma

Is there are planned length for the test flights?

nasa16 karma

The exact length for the first SpaceX flight is still being worked out. ISS is a busy place, so we have to make way for other traffic too. Right now we are expecting 2 weeks to 30 days. -Bob

JKRPP5 karma

Are there any “creature comforts“ built into your vessel?

nasa6 karma

All of the "creature comforts" are actually on station so these spacecraft just need to get us there as fast as possible!

- Hopper

Seas-of-Europa5 karma

Hi! I have some questions for Boe, Ferguson, and Hurley. You've all paid an important part in the Space Shuttle program and were there to pilot, or even command the final Space Shuttle missions. How do you feel now that we're taking off from America in American-made spacecraft after all these years? Do you think that the Starliner and Dragon could become the next Space Shuttle?

Good luck!

nasa8 karma

Obviously, we're excited to be launching from American soil after several years launching with our international partners. While the shuttle had more capabilities with a robotic arm, a large cargo bay and an airlock, these new vehicles come with the benefit of new technology leaps from the last 30 years. - Doug

Nobiting5 karma

Is there any apprehension about going to the bathroom in a small capsule with no bathroom door? Or is that just one small tradeoff for the awesomeness of going to space?

nasa6 karma

There is always apprehension about going to the bathroom in space, regardless of the size of the vehicle. That's one of the times you really miss gravity but the trade off is absolutely worth it.

- Hopper

Highjog4 karma

Besides being trained and prepared to go into space, do any of you still get nervous/anxious even though you’re well prepared? Going to space must be an amazing and nerve wrecking experience I’d assume.

nasa6 karma

For me, I usually get nervous after the event is over. First the event happens, then the training kicks in, and usually after things have settled down, I start to get the rush of adrenaline. -Bob

t0werz4 karma

What kind of work will you be doing up there?

nasa15 karma

Scientific research, space station maintenance, space walks, lots of exercise, socializing with our multi-national cremates, public outreach, gazing upon and taking lots of photos of our spaceship Earth below, and of course having some fun by seeing how far I can Superman across the International Space Station modules. -Victor

nasa11 karma

We will be testing all aspects of the new spacecraft. For example, both vehicles are very automated but they also have backup systems which normally won't be used but we need to make sure that they will work if the automation fails. - Eric

nasa4 karma

The International Space Station is a laboratory where we can help with hundreds of exciting experiments, but it's also where we get good at living and working in space. It's like your house -- when things break or require maintenance, we have to take care of it. (But unlike weekend work at home, if we have go outside to fix it, it'll be tough to hide our excitement.) -Josh

Heiwa1432 karma

What advice or words of wisdom would you give aspiring astronauts on how not be afraid to fail or take risks?

nasa5 karma

For me a build up approach to taking risk is important. You don't have to jump off the high dive on your first trip to the pool. Build up to it! Keep challenging yourself to do that! -Bob

KiKoB2 karma

What are your thoughts on all those flat earthers out there?

nasa8 karma

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. For me the facts speak for themselves. -Bob

cathasatail2 karma

Question for everyone:
First of all, congratulations to everyone on getting selected for their respective flights! :)

My question was: Over the time that you've spent with each respective company, have there been any notable times where a design or procedure has changed in response to comments from yourselves and/or fellow astronauts?

Best wishes, from a UK space fan

nasa5 karma

I've been working with both Boeing and SpaceX for over 3 years now, and we have inputs and comments that result in vehicle and operations changes with both providers routinely. It has been really rewarding in that respect! -Bob

Wizard71872 karma

Do you have anything to do during launch, taking into account that most tasks are done by the flight computer?

nasa5 karma

Just like on the space shuttle or the soyuz, the crew monitors the computers and the rest of the systems. We can intervene if required. -Bob

CombTheDes5rt2 karma

To both the Starliner and Dragon crews. Will you be given the chance to fly the spacecrafts manually at some point during the missions or is it so heavily automated at this point that you wont get that opportunity? Congratulations and good luck on your missions!

nasa6 karma

The details are still being worked out, but during the test flights, we expect to perform some checkout of all systems, including the manual flying! -Bob

Karlajn2892 karma

To all of you: Have you always wanted to be astronauts? Was it your childhood dream (if so, what pushed you to make it come true), an adult decision or just a coincidence?

Greetings from Poland, you're doing a great job♡

nasa4 karma

There is a fair amount of luck involved in getting selected. I think we all wanted to be astronauts at some point when were young, and most importantly we didn't close any doors during our careers that would prevent the opportunity when it came! -Bob

Unhutchable1 karma

Is this a cover for the eminent formation of the U.S. Space Force and where do I sign up?

nasa2 karma

Not to my knowledge. -Bob