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NASA ready for lift off ahead of SpaceX astronaut launch

1st time astronauts launched from U.S. in 9 years
NASA holds a briefing ahead of Wednesday's scheduled SpaceX launch, sending astronauts into space from U.S. soil for the first time in nine years.
Posted at 10:20 AM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 11:05:28-04

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA held a Tuesday briefing ahead of Wednesday's scheduled SpaceX launch.

A SpaceX rocket is scheduled to blast off from Cape Canaveral carrying a Dragon capsule with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station.

"This is a unique moment where all of America can take a moment and look at our country do something stunning again," said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.

It will be the first time astronauts launch from the U.S. in nine years and a first for a private company.

"Why are we here? We're here to expand the human condition for all mankind ... Right now, we've got one astronaut on the Space Station. And when we get the full complement back of astronauts, we're going to increase our research up there by 300%," said NASA Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard.

Forecasters put the odds of acceptable weather at 40%. But that doesn't include the need for favorable conditions all the way up the U.S. and Canadian coasts and across the sea to Ireland.

The Dragon's emergency escape system can kick in, if necessary, all the way to orbit.

"Remember, this is a test flight. The highest priority is to test the vehicle and get it home safely," said Bridenstine.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to attend Wednesday's launch.

Astronauts Go Back To The Future With Capsule Launch

It's back to the future as NASA astronauts launch again from the U.S. — aboard a retro-style "Right Stuff' capsule. SpaceX's sleek, new Dragon crew capsule outshines NASA's old Apollo spacecraft in virtually every way.

The Dragon's clean lines and minimalist interior, with touchscreens instead of scores of switches and knobs, make ven the space shuttles seem more yesteryear.

This fresh take on a vintage look will be on full display Wednesday when SpaceX plans to launch two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

The duo promise to reveal the name they've chosen for their capsule on launch day.