Solving Space: Commercial Crew Program Astronaut Training

With the advent of the Commercial Crew Program, astronaut training reached new levels. With new spacecraft and space suits, NASA astronauts receive specific mission training with Boeing or SpaceX to prepare to live and work aboard the space station, and eventually to the Moon and Mars. Solve Space by unscrambling this image, and learn more about astronaut training and how you can experience it at Space Center Houston!

Learn More About It

  • In this image, Commercial Crew Program astronauts Mike Fincke, Nicole Mann and Barry “Butch” Wilmore in Free Flyer Track & Capture Sim training in SES Alpha Cupola.
  • NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is a partnership to develop and fly human space transportation systems.
  • The Crew-2 mission continues the efforts of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to restore and maintain American leadership in human spaceflight.
  • NASA astronauts in the Commercial Crew Program undergo mission training with SpaceX in preparation for missions.
  • NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission underwent six months of intensive training. Mission specialist Shannon Walker said it was necessary preparation.
  • Tests were a crucial part of training. Lessons learned from Demo-2 and other test flights included redesign of a small area of the thermal protection system around the trunk attachments, modifications to the ventilation system on the nosecone of the Dragon spacecraft, and design adjustment for measuring the barometric pressure used for parachute deployment. 
  • In 2020, NASA welcomed 11 new astronauts who completed selection and graduated. Astronaut candidate training for the new graduates included instruction, practice, and testing in spacewalking, robotics, International Space Station systems, T-38 jet proficiency, and Russian language.
  • That astronaut class also completed more than two years of required basic training and are the first to graduate since NASA announced its Artemis program.
  • These newest astronauts have been assigned and have crewed missions to the International Space Station, and by 2024 they may be assigned to missions to the Moon, and ultimately, Mars. NASA plans to launch lunar missions once a year after 2024, and target mid-2030s for human exploration of Mars.
  • Want to see astronauts in actual training? You can watch this video reel of NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley training for their launch on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.


Experience More

  • Take our NASA Tram Tour and see where astronauts train in Building 9, the astronaut training facility and home of the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at NASA Johnson Space Center!
  • Have you ever wanted to be an astronaut? Check out Space Center U! Space Center U is a challenging multi-day program offered year-round to individuals and groups. The program promotes teamwork, problem solving, communication and engineering solutions to space related situations.
  • Join one of our Astronaut Experiences! See what is NEW in June at our Breakfast with an Astronaut!
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