I’m not sure why I had assumed that if the CST-100 gets the funding it needs to become the replacement for the retired Space Shuttle fleet it would be piloted by NASA astronauts. I guess I assumed that all astronauts would need to be NASA trained, but that isn’t the case. Boeing is looking for the first two pilots for the CST-100 from within its own ranks.
The first three flights of the CST-100 space capsule will happen in 2015 if all goes well. The first two flights will be unmanned with the first flight reaching orbit and the second flight being a suborbital test of the launch abort system. The third mission will be manned by two Boeing pilots and will go all the way to docking with the ISS.
The search for the first pilot from a pool of Boeing employees is already under way. Boeing wants the first pilot to join early so that the pilot can have input on the design process for the ship. It’s pretty cool that someone from the private sector is going to become a real astronaut.