SpaceX’s astronaut launch will mark a milestone for commercial spaceflight

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 15:50 in Astronomy & Space

For the first time, humans are poised to hurtle into Earth’s orbit on a commercial rocket. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is set to launch at 3:22 p.m. EDT from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on May 30, to take U.S. astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch was originally scheduled for May 27, but was scrubbed due to bad weather less than 17 minutes before lift-off time. Astronauts have not launched to orbit from the United States since 2011, when NASA’s space shuttle program ended (SN: 6/3/11). Since then, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft have been the only way for astronauts of any nationality to reach the ISS. (The Chinese space agency has its own rockets and crew vehicles, and had its own space station for a time, but is not a partner in the ISS.) The launch will mark an important transition in crewed space travel for NASA, shifting...

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