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Get Ready To Launch America!

Get Ready To Launch America!

A new era of human spaceflight is about to begin. American astronauts will once again launch on an American rocket from American soil to the International Space Station as part of our Commercial Crew Program! NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifting off on a Falcon 9 rocket at 4:32 p.m. EDT May 27, from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, for an extended stay at the space station for the Demo-2 mission. 

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As the final flight test for SpaceX, this mission will validate the company’s crew transportation system, including the launch pad, rocket, spacecraft and operational capabilities. This also will be the first time NASA astronauts will test the spacecraft systems in orbit.

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Behnken and Hurley were among the first astronauts to begin working and training on SpaceX’s next-generation human space vehicle and were selected for their extensive test pilot and flight experience, including several missions on the space shuttle.

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Behnken will be the joint operations commander for the mission, responsible for activities such as rendezvous, docking and undocking, as well as Demo-2 activities while the spacecraft is docked to the space station.

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Hurley will be the spacecraft commander for Demo-2, responsible for activities such as launch, landing and recovery.

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Lifting off from Launch Pad 39A atop a specially instrumented Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon will accelerate its two passengers to approximately 17,000 mph and put it on an intercept course with the International Space Station. In about 24 hours, Crew Dragon will be in position to rendezvous and dock with the space station. The spacecraft is designed to do this autonomously but astronauts aboard the spacecraft and the station will be diligently monitoring approach and docking and can take control of the spacecraft if necessary.

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The Demo-2 mission will be the final major step before our Commercial Crew Program certifies Crew Dragon for operational, long-duration missions to the space station. This certification and regular operation of Crew Dragon will enable NASA to continue the important research and technology investigations taking place onboard the station, which benefits people on Earth and lays the groundwork for future exploration of the Moon and Mars starting with the agency’s Artemis program, which will land the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface in 2024. 

Get excited and follow along on social media using the hashtag #LaunchAmerica! 

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