On Wednesday, May 27th, NASA will entrust commercial space company SpaceX with the coveted task of flying astronauts to outer space from American soil for the first time since the Space Shuttle era nearly a decade ago. The event, scheduled just over two weeks from today, is poised to happen at 12:15 P.M. Eastern time, and will be streamed live all over the internet for the world to witness.
Not only will it be the first time that astronauts launch from American soil in almost 10 years, but it will also mark the first time that astronauts fly atop one of SpaceX’s tried and true reusable Falcon 9 rockets. At the very tip of the rocket will be the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, which will ferry the NASA astronauts to the International Space Station after they escape the tug of Earth’s gravity just above the skies.
In this NASA video, astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken discuss their thoughts about the upcoming launch and how they feel about the impact of this historic event on the future of American spaceflight. Both have traveled to the microgravitational environment of outer space previously, and each are super excited to usher in a new era of America’s spaceflight independence.
This is the final demonstration mission that SpaceX will need to complete before NASA entrusts them indefinitely for future missions. Boeing, SpaceX’s only significant competitor in this space, and one of NASA’s preferred contractors, is still struggling to meet its deadlines. It should be interesting to see how this pans out and how SpaceX performs.