The historic launch that would take NASA astronauts to the ISS from US soil has been cleared for launch next week despite the coronavirus pandemic and the departure of the agency’s human spaceflight lead. It’ll be the first time astronauts will take off from the US since NASA’s space shuttle program ended in 2011, when they started hitching rides on Russian Soyuz capsules.
NASA and SpaceX have confirmed that they’ve had “a very successful launch readiness review” at a virtual press conference. Steve Jurczyk, the agency’s Associate Administrator,
they did “a thorough review of all the systems and all the risks” and unanimously decided that everything’s in place for a May 27th launch.
"I just want to reiterate that we had a very successful launch readiness review in that we did a thorough review of all the systems and all the risks, and it was unanimous on the board that we are 'go' for launch." — NASA Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk pic.twitter.com/M40yFP8Jie— NASA (@NASA) May 22, 2020
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and the Crew Dragon spacecraft taking the astronauts to the ISS are already positioned at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. SpaceX has just test-fired the Falcon 9’s first-stage engines as part of the final series of tests needed before launch. The Demo-2 mission team still has to complete a final readiness review, which will incorporate data from the critical static fire test, on May 25th. Unless something goes wrong, though, the Crew Dragon will be heading to orbit on May 27th at 4:33 PM EDT with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley onboard.
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