Two NASA astronauts arrived on the Kennedy House Middle in Florida on Wednesday, one week earlier than they blast off aboard a SpaceX vessel — the primary crewed area flight to go away from US soil in 9 years.
US astronauts have been flying to the Worldwide House Station (ISS) on Russian Soyuz rockets for the reason that shuttle program resulted in 2011 — a dependence they’re eager to interrupt.
“It has been an extended highway,” stated Douglas Hurley, who shall be one of many astronauts and was additionally on the final shuttle flight.
He and astronaut Robert Behnken would be the first people to fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, which was examined with a dummy final yr.
The Crew Dragon will take off from Kennedy with assist from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and dock on the ISS, which is presently housing two Russians and one different American.
“That is an superior time to be an astronaut, with a brand new spacecraft,” Behnken stated throughout a press convention in Florida.
The two arrived in Florida on a NASA jet after being in quarantine since Might 13 in Houston in an effort to guard themselves and people aboard the ISS from the novel coronavirus.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine — who kept away from shaking fingers with the pair — reiterated that it was solely the fifth time in historical past that the US would launch a brand new area flight program.
It’s the first program to be carried out as a public-private partnership – with SpaceX producing the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Boeing producing the Starliner.
To restrict public spending, NASA financed growth of the spacecrafts however has signed contracts with the businesses to make sure six round-trip flights to the ISS.
In one other distinction from the earlier packages, the Might 27 launch will happen with out the standard crowds of spectators as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
NASA is already beneath strain from President Donald Trump who has instructed the area company to return to the moon by 2024, accelerating an already dangerous endeavor.
The pinnacle of NASA’s human spaceflight program, Doug Loverro, abruptly resigned Tuesday after solely six months on the job, in a transfer presumably associated to procurement of spacecraft for the Artemis lunar mission.
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