SpaceX and NASA will send two astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 27. The launch will mark the United States’ first crewed launch since the end of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011.
Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will blast off in the privately built Dragon Crew Capsule, atop one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets. Both Behnken and Hurley have previously spent time on the ISS during the Space Shuttle Program.
Once the Dragon Crew Capsule docks with the ISS, Behnken and Hurley will join the rest of the Expedition 63 crew already orbiting in space. They’ll perform tests on their capsule, as well as conduct research with the rest of the crew. The length of their mission won’t be announced until the astronauts reach the ISS and NASA and SpaceX can determine when they’ll be ready for the next crewed launch.
The launch and docking the ISS will be the final test for SpaceX and the Commercial Crew Program.
A new “space race”
SpaceX and Boeing were both hired by NASA as part of its Commercial Crew Program, which will utilize private aerospace companies to help usher in the next era of space travel. Throughout the past five years, the companies have been racing to keep up with NASA’s demands to get astronauts to space without relying on Russian spacecraft.
You can follow mankind’s journey to the lunar surface in our free downloadable eBook: Project Apollo: Reaching for the Moon.
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