SpaceX and NASA Will Send Two Astronauts Into Space On May 27th
SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturing company founded by Tesla founder Elon Musk, has confirmed the company’s first launch with people on board to take place on May 27th, according to an article by CNBC. The mission will see NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley strapped into the Crew Dragon Demo-2 capsule and head to the International Space Station.
The company had been planning to launch a series of its Starlink satellites this week, but decided to delay and focus on Demo-2 because of an incoming tropical storm. Demo-2 will be the second time the Crew Dragon has been sent to the space station, but the first time with crew on board.
The Demo-2 launch has been a priority for both SpaceX and NASA, with NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine saying earlier this month, "we need access to the International Space Station from the United States of America."
NASA has provided significant funding help for the development of the Crew Dragon, awarding SpaceX $3.1 billion to develop the spacecraft. The funding comes from the NASA program called Commercial Crew, which is their replacement for the Space Shuttle that was retired in 2011.
Though thousands were initially expected to come to the Kennedy Space Station in Florida to witness the launch, amid Covid-19 pandemic concerns, NASA administrators are urging people to stay home and watch the live broadcast online. Jim Bridenstine said on April 23, "Join us in this launch but do so from home. We are asking people not to travel to the Kennedy Space Center."