On Friday, when NASA announced the nine astronauts who would fly aboard the first commercial crew missions, Kathy Lueders sat among the audience clapping. Certainly for the manager of the space agency's commercial crew program, this was a happy day. But much hard work remains before the flights actually take place, and Lueders knows this more than anyone. Ultimately, she bears responsibility for ensuring that these men and women would have the safest possible flights.
“We’ve got to keep going,” she said later Friday, in an interview following the astronaut announcement ceremony. “I kind of feel like we’re having the party before the the flight.”