ST. LOUIS—It starts here in a warehouse by the airport. A couple of NASA astronauts in their blue flight suits, sitting at a touch screen display, taking the first training steps toward the real flights scheduled to happen more than a year from now.
Those flights will be the first from American soil since the space shuttle retired in 2011, another major milestone for NASA, which has been paying Russia hundreds of millions of dollars to fly U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station.
But now NASA’s best and brightest are learning to fly again. This time on new spacecraft, ones owned and operated by contractors, not NASA. Which is why astronauts Sunita Williams and Eric Boe were here at a Boeing facility Tuesday at the controls of a simulator, practicing a disembarking maneuver.