St. Louis astronaut will train for commercial crew flight tests to ISS

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CAPE CANAVERAL, FL (KTVI)-A St. Louis astronaut is part of a team that will train to fly commercial crew flight tests to the International Space Station.

Air Force Col. Robert Behnken, a St. Ann, MO native and Pattonville graduate, joins Eric Boe, Doug Hurley, and Suni Williams who have been selected to be the first astronauts to train for test flights on Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon.

The crew capsules are still being designed. The astronaut scientists will work with both companies initially and then begin to work specifically the company they will end up flying with as the test flights approach.

Behnken was on two space shuttle flights and took part in six spacewalks. He served as chief astronaut from 2012 to 2015.

SpaceX and Boeing are aiming for test flights to the ISS by 2017. The last U.S. manned flight to space was on Atlantis, the final shuttle mission in 2011.