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St. Louis-area native among astronauts picked for SpaceX launch

Air Force Col. Robert Behnken

ST. LOUIS – A suburban St. Louis native is among the astronauts who will ride the first commercial capsules into orbit next year.

Air Force Col. Robert Behnken will be one of two test pilots for the SpaceX Crew Dragon. Names of the astronauts were announced Friday. NASA is working with Space X and Boeing to develop the spacecraft.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Behnken is from St. Ann and is a 1988 graduate of Pattonville High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1992 from Washington University, and master’s and doctorate degrees from California Institute of Technology.

Nine astronauts were named to ride the SpaceX Dragon and Boeing Starliner capsules _ five on the first crew flights and four on the second round of missions to the International Space Station.

Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com