Wilbur Ross says SpaceX launch makes space 'new war-fighting domain'

SpaceX launch: Joint mission a 'game-changer', says Australian astronaut Andy Thomas

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are scheduled to launch from Kennedy Space Center in a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft; Former NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao joins 'America's Newsroom'.

If the launch window holds for the Crew Dragon's demo mission (its second) to the space station, it will mark the first USA manned spaceflight since the 2011 end of NASA's Space Shuttle program.

"Discovery and Science Channel have spent over a year documenting SpaceX's race to become the first private company to launch American astronauts into space".

President Donald Trump is hoping the first launch of American astronauts from USA soil in almost a decade will give the nation's spirit a boost after months of battling the coronavirus.

NASA hired SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 to transport astronauts to the space station, after commercial cargo shipments had taken off. Development of SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's Starliner capsules took longer than expected, however, and the US has been paying Russian Federation to launch NASA astronauts in the interim.

This launch is a major benchmark for both SpaceX and NASA.

The first space shuttle, which was supposed to be the successor to the Apollo program of the 1960s and 1970s, launched in 1981 and saw a number of successful flights.

The space agency is shifting into the role of a customer, purchasing rockets, capsule, and other crafts from SpaceX, with interest in doing the same with other companies in the future.

As NASA and SpaceX complete final preparations for the first crewed flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, the agency is already looking ahead to the spacecraft's next mission. NASA partnered with Elon Musk's privately owned company to build and design the spacecraft. "The capsule in SpaceX is actually a low risk to launching".

Despite concerns over the coronavirus outbreak and inclement weather in the forecast, the launch is still set to take place.

SpaceX has had to prove that their capsule design was safe.

"We as astronauts, you cherish every flight assignment if you want to continue to fly in space", Hurley said.

Like Hurley, Behnken, another Bug, is a veteran of two shuttle missions, one in 2008 and another two years later. But that didn't factor in conditions along the Dragon's route to orbit.

The Pences, who were wearing face masks, stood alongside Behnken, Hurley and their families as the astronauts said goodbye Wednesday afternoon.

The Crew Dragon is expected to dock with the ISS on Thursday morning. NASA says it will determine how long the astronauts will stay at the ISS after they arrive. Once that's complete, Boeing will be beside SpaceX, launching American astronauts and their worldwide partners once again.



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