We’re sending astronauts back into space again, right from the launch pads due east at Cape Canaveral!
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine announced this week that on May 27 astronauts will launch from American soil for the first time since 2011.
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will launch in the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center’s historic launchpad 39A, the same pad where Apollo 11 launched to the moon more than 50 years ago.
From there, the crewed spacecraft will head to the International Space Station, although it’s unknown at this point how long it will stay docked.
BREAKING: On May 27, @NASA will once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil! With our @SpaceX partners, @Astro_Doug and @AstroBehnken will launch to the @Space_Station on the #CrewDragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Let's #LaunchAmerica ?? pic.twitter.com/RINb3mfRWI
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) April 17, 2020
SpaceX has already conducted stress tests to handle possible problems with manned flights. In January, SpaceX destroyed a rocket to ensure if something were to go wrong during the flight, the capsule could successfully detach to keep astronauts safe in the event of launch failure.
SpaceX and Boeing had been racing to be the first to launch astronauts, but it appeared clear that it would be SpaceX first after Boeing ran into issues during the launch of its Starliner crew capsule.
Typically huge crowds would flock to the Space Coast to watch the launch, but with the nation practicing social distancing, it’s possible the first crewed flight in nine years could go up without crowds of onlookers gathered.