UPDATE: SpaceX has canceled today’s launch of NASA astronauts into space for the first time. Weather was the issue for the delay. The next launch is set for Saturday.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (WISH) — SpaceX plans to launch NASA astronauts into space for the first time.
NASA announced earlier this week that the mission is a “go” weather pending.
It is not only the first-ever crewed mission for SpaceX, but it’s also the first from U.S. soil to enter Earth’s orbit since NASA retired the space shuttle program in 2011.
NASA partnered with Elon Musk’s privately owned company to build and design the spacecraft. If the mission known as Demo-2 is successful, it will be the first commercially built aircraft to carry Americans to the International Space Station.
The two astronauts at the helm are colonels Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. It will be the third trip to space for both of them.
“We longed to be a part of a space mission, a test space flight, and Doug and I are lucky enough to get that opportunity,” Col. Behnken said. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way. and there’s been will to make this happen, and we’re just proud to be a part of it.”
The first mission is just a flight test. Behnken and Hurley are expected to spend one to four months at the orbiting outpost before using the same Crew Dragon to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and splash down in the Atlantic Ocean.
Even with the impact of COVID-19, the space team is determined to launch themselves into history books. Both astronauts said they have been tested at least two times leading up to the launch, have been in quarantine and there were changes made to the way the team operated in preparation.
The launch is scheduled to take place at Cape Canaveral Florida at 4:33 p.m. on Wednesday. The Kennedy Space Center is closed to visitors. NASA is encouraging people to watch the launch from home.
As for the astronauts, they will wake up around 9 a.m. on Wednesday and eat breakfast. At t-minus 3 hours and 15 minutes, they’ll take a 20-minute ride to the pad in Tesla vehicles. The schedule has them entering the Crew Dragon capsule at t-minus 2 hours and 35 minutes. The hatch is scheduled to close one hour and 55 minutes before launch.