The very first NASA astronauts are set to launch to space from America, after about ten years since they last used U.S. commercial spacecraft.
Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida a week before the launch. It will happen on SpaceX’s first Dragon spacecraft, and they are going to the International Space Station. Demo-2 missions will show how they will resume the U.S. orbital spaceflights since NASA ended the shuttle program back in 2011.
Behnken stated: “This is an amazing time to be an astronaut, with a new spacecraft to get a chance to go and fly, we’re thankful for that opportunity and we view it as an opportunity, but also a responsibility for the American people, for the SpaceX team [and] for all of NASA that has put this opportunity together and then trusted us with it.
It is, indeed, a fantastic time for NASA, that is launching the U.S. crews again. Hurley stated that he is one of the four astronauts who landed here nine years ago, in T-38 on the 4th of July, 2011. He continued with the fact that it’s quite surprising that he’s here to start out the next launch from the U.S.
If it all goes according to the plan…
If the Demo-2 test flight goes as planned, NASA will allow SpaceX to take care of the regular flight missions to and from the ISS – International Space Station. The U.S. space agency relies on SpaceX’s Dragon and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft in order to get astronauts to the orbiting laboratory and then bring them back safely, while still encouraging expanded commercial activities in low Earth orbit.
The first crew is ready to fly now, and Hurley and Behnken are already choosing the preflight traditions they want to observe. They stated they feel responsible for continuing these traditions, which the Russian Soyuz crews had for quite the years. They want to share some of these traditions, as well.