NASA, SpaceX to return human spaceflight to American soil after nearly a decade
A new era of human spaceflight is set to begin as American astronauts once again launch on an American rocket from American soil to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. For the first time in nearly a decade, NASA, in collaboration with SpaceX, is launching astronauts into space from US soil. The launch will be the first crewed launch for Elon Musk’s space company. The launch is scheduled for May 27.
According to the announcement, NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifting off on a Falcon 9 rocket at 4:33 p.m. EDT May 27, from Launch Complex 39A in Florida, for an extended stay at the space station for the Demo-2 mission. As its name implies, Demo-2 will be the second time SpaceX launches its Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station. But, unlike Demo-1 last year, this time two astronauts will be on board. The specific duration of the mission is to be determined.
As the final flight test for SpaceX, this mission will validate the company’s crew transportation system, including the launch pad, rocket, spacecraft, and operational capabilities. This also will be the first time NASA astronauts will test the spacecraft systems in orbit.
NASA also went on social media with hashtag #LaunchAmerica Campaign to promote the launch, which introduces a new era of spaceflight that returns the ability to launch astronauts to the United States for the first time since the end of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011. It also shines light on NASA’s Commercial Crew Program which is the driving force of these efforts with a goal of safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station from the United States through a public-private approach.
Together with @SpaceX, we will return human spaceflight to American soil after nearly a decade. May 27 is not only a big day for our teams – it’s a big day for our country.
— NASA (@NASA) May 9, 2020