The SpaceX missile Falcon 9 and the spacecraft Crew Dragon are being prepared for the historic Demo 2 mission, which NASA astronauts have launched into space for the first time since 2011.
A photo released on Thursday by NASA showed how the Falcon 9 rocket and the Crew Dragon were brought into a vertical position on the Kennedy Space Center launch pad 39A, which was also used for the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs . NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are scheduled to launch at 4:33 p.m. EDT on May 27th.
It will be the first time that a private company has sent astronauts into orbit instead of a national government.
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“A new era of human spaceflight is just around the corner,”
SpaceX also tweeted a time-lapse video of Thursday’s preparations.
Crew Dragon will be launched on the Falcon 9 rocket and, according to NASA, will accelerate to approximately 27,000 km / h, bringing the capsule on course for the International Space Station.
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Hurley and Behnken flew to the Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, exactly a week before their historic SpaceX flight.
Under normal circumstances, large crowds would have been expected to witness the historic launch, but, citing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, NASA has urged people to stay away. According to Spaceflight Now, hundreds of thousands of people flocked to the Kennedy Space Center for the last shuttle launch in July 2011.
Earlier this week, former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino, a veteran of two space shuttle missions, told Fox News he was eagerly awaiting the historic launch. “Launching astronauts from American soil is huge,” he said.
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STS-135, the last space shuttle mission launched on July 8, 2011 from the Kennedy Space Center. The Space Shuttle Atlantis carried four NASA astronauts on a mission to restore the ISS, as well as an experiment on robot-controlled refueling of satellites in space.
Since then, the United States has relied on Russian Soyuz rockets launched by the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to launch astronauts into space. Russia is charging the US about $ 75 million to send an astronaut into space.
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Last week, NASA agreed to pay the Russian space agency Roscosmos $ 90 million for a final seat on one of its Soyuz rockets.
Kristin Fisher, Lauren Blanchard and The Associated Press from Fox News all contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @ Jamesjrogers