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SpaceX Set to Launch Historic NASA Mission



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All systems are “go” for a historic SpaceX and NASA launch scheduled on Wednesday.

It will be the first time that a rocket-launch from American soil carried astronauts into orbit since 2011. However, that’s not the only reason this mission has historic implications. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule will carry NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley into space. This marks the first time that a private company will send astronauts into orbit. The mission, dubbed Demo-2, will ferry the two astronauts to the International Space Station. There, they could stay for as long as four months. It’s the first time that NASA will launch astronauts into space since the agency ended its shuttle program in 2011.

The launch will take place at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL on Wednesday at 4:33 PM EST. Behnken and Hurley have been on-site since last week undergoing final preparations for their historic mission.

Something To Look Forward To

NASA officials are excited about launching US astronauts into space again. “We are on the cusp of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil yet again,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement to reporters last week. “You really are a bright light for all of America right now. Thank you so much for all you’ve done and all you’re about to do.

The launch serves as a major milestone for SpaceX. a private company that remains an uncontested leader in the aerospace sector over the past decade. Outspoken billionaire Elon Musk is the majority shareholder in SpaceX with a 54% ownership stake, but SpaceX President & COO Gwynn Shotwell is the public face of the company. Shotwell runs the company’s day-to-day operations, and she says that the company has worked hard to get to this point. “We’ve worked closely with NASA since 2006,” said Shotwell. “All that work is culminating in this historic event coming up in just a few weeks.”

A manned mission typically draws massive crowds of onlookers to Kennedy Space Center to witness the launch. However, this particular launch is occurring in the midst of a global pandemic. So, NASA officials are urging space enthusiasts to stay home. “We are asking people to join us in this launch, but to do so from home,” Bridenstine said in a recent video conference. Kennedy Space Center will remain closed to the public until Thursday – the day after the scheduled take-off date – to prevent onlookers from flocking to the launch site.


NASA and SpaceX conducted their final launch readiness review (LRR) on Monday. The mission officially gained approval for a Wednesday take-off. However, the launch could be delayed if weather becomes an issue. In a post-LRR statement, the mission’s launch weather officer, Mike McAleenan, said there is a 40% chance that precipitation or clouds could postpone the launch date.

The U.S. Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron will continue monitoring the weather until the final countdown begins on Wednesday. NASA set aside Saturday (May 30) and Sunday (May 31) as backup launch dates for a postponed launch.

Demo-2 is a major milestone for both the public and private sectors. If everything proceeds as planned, it could mark the beginning of a new era for US space exploration. NASA hasn’t sent astronauts into space since the last space shuttle launch on July 8, 2011. So, Wednesday’s launch is the organization’s first shot at redemption in nearly a decade. Hopefully, this historic union of the private and public sectors is only the beginning of a long and productive arrangement for US space interests.

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