First Astronaut Launch from U.S. Soil in More Than a Decade Set for May

On July 8, 2011, the American space shuttle program conducted its final mission, and the spacecraaft was later retired. The moment marked the start of NASA's race to develop a new Moon exploration program and come up with one for Mars as well, but it was also the last time American astronauts took off for space from American soil.
Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on board the Crew Dragon 1 photo
Photo: NASA
If the world doesn't end abruptly in the following couple of months, crewed space launches from America will resume at the end of May with the launch of the Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station (ISS). It will also be the first time people are sent to space on board a privately-developed spacecraft as part of the Commercial Crew Program.

The spacecraft that will be used for the task is the SpaceX Crew Dragon, a vehicle that has already proved its worth by journeying uncrewed to the ISS and back more than a year ago.

Two astronauts will fly on board the Dragon in May, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. The duo will go through all the flight's stages, including launch from the Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, docking with the ISS in orbit, splashdown and recovery from the middle of the ocean. If all goes well, the Crew Dragon will then be certified as safe for more flights, and a flood of missions will likely follow.

Having set the general date for the launch, NASA adds though that it all boils down to how the world will look like two months from now. In regards to the coronavirus pandemic, the agency states ”it will continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the agency’s chief health and medical officer and communicate any updates that may impact mission planning or media access, as they become available.”
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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