This is the first time since 2011 (when the USA's space shuttle retired) that astronauts will launch from the United States soil and from American-made spacecrafts.
"This is a big deal for our country, and we want America to know we're back", Bridenstine said in a speech. "We're flying American astronauts on American rockets from American soil".
"As technology improves, it is certainly possible for the cost of space travel to decrease but it will take significant technology breakthroughs to truly lower the cost of space travel to a more "affordable level".
On Friday, NASA, along with commercial partners Boeing and SpaceX, named the first commercial crew astronauts selected to fly aboard commercial spacecraft.
Besides Ferguson and Mann, the initial commercial crew members are: Eric Boe, Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada riding on Boeing.
Boe, a veteran NASA astronaut, has logged more than 28 days in space across two Space Shuttle missions. "She is in touch with the family as her preparations are going on for the mission", she said.
"As a test pilot, it doesn't get any better than this", said Mann, a Naval aviator.
Following SpaceX's first demonstration mission without humans aboard Crew Dragon targeted for November 2018, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be the first two NASA astronauts to fly in the Dragon spacecraft.
It's been a long trip for these astronauts.
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Both Boeing and SpaceX are also working with Bigelow Aerospace, a Las Vegas company that intends to launch private space stations into orbit, to be leased to nations or companies. This mission was the second resupply mission for the Dragon cargo spacecraft and 15 mission for SpaceX in collaboration with NASA. Those were Behnken, Boe, Hurley and Williams.
NASA has chosen the "Commercial Crew Nine": the first humans who will go to space on rockets produced by private spaceflight companies.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Government Accountability Office recommended NASA pursue a backup plan for getting astronauts to the ISS, as its contract with Russian Federation to send them to the station via Soyuz launches in Kazakhstan ends at the close of 2019.
Some of the newly named crew, like Cassada, joined NASA expecting to fly on Soyuz spacecraft before any new American ship.
The Government Accountability Office recently issued a warning to NASA that it needs to have a contingency plan in place to ensure continued access to the space station, which costs the USA about $3 billion annually.
Glover, who also joined NASA in 2013, summed it up simply. The group includes eight current NASA astronauts and one Boeing astronaut. Dragons, meanwhile, will fly on SpaceX's own Falcon 9 rockets. Both vehicles are reusable. Similarly, the first Starliner is being now being outfitted for launch at Kennedy Space Center, and the test flight's Atlas V Centaur upper stage-never flown in the dual-engine configuration-ships to Florida in August.
Those launch targets may change.
The aviation companies will be conducting test flights at the end of this year and next, and astronauts will leave for the global space station Cape Canaveral in Florida next spring or summer. The crew missions have been delayed repeatedly because of the technical challenges and difficulties of making spacecraft safe for humans. But that changed Thursday (Aug. 2) when NASA rolled out a set of new launch targets. The unmanned test flight is scheduled for late 2018 or early 2019.