The United States space program has been without a launch vehicle for human spaceflight since 2011. That was when the space shuttle Atlantis returned on its final flight. Since then, NASA has relied on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to take its astronauts to the International Space Station. However, if all goes to plan this could soon change, as two private companies are working with NASA to launch the first astronauts into orbit. The companies, SpaceX and Boeing, are building crew capsules and rockets, designing space suits, and training astronauts to fly these new vehicles into space.

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