Three radio amateurs are among the initial nine NASA astronauts scheduled to fly on commercial spacecraft to the International Space Station. Others in the group are studying for their ham licensing exams in order to take part in Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school radio contacts, or because they have expressed interest in supporting ARISS events. The women and men chosen will be the first to fly the SpaceX Crew Dragon or Boeing CST-100 Starliner.
SpaceX plans to fly a two-person crew — Robert Behnken, KE5GGX, and Doug Hurley — in Crew Dragon atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center. Boeing aims to launch a CST-100 Starliner capsule on an Atlas V vehicle from Cape Canaveral. It would carry a three-person crew — Eric Boe, Chris Ferguson, and Nicole Aunapa Mann, who attended an ARISS introductory talk at Johnson Space Center (JSC) and voiced interest in doing ARISS contacts in the future. At this point, however, her crew training will be stepped up to a more intense level.