(Sterling, Va.) — President Donald Trump plans to be on the Florida coast Wednesday to observe American astronauts blast into orbit from the Kennedy Area Middle for the primary time in additional than a decade.
It will likely be the primary time for the reason that area shuttle program led to 2011 that U.S. astronauts will launch into area aboard an American rocket from American soil.
Additionally new Wednesday: a personal firm — not NASA — is operating the present.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is the conductor and NASA the shopper as companies start chauffeuring astronauts to the Worldwide Area Station.
The NASA/SpaceX Business Crew flight check launch will carry NASA’s latest check pilots, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
They’re scheduled to blast off from launch pad 39A, the identical one the Apollo astronauts used to get to the moon.
The shift to non-public firms permits NASA to zero in on deep area journey. The area company is working to return astronauts to the moon by 2024 underneath orders from the White Home, however that deadline seems more and more unlikely whilst three newly chosen business groups rush to develop lunar landers. Mars additionally beckons.
The White Home portrayed the launch as an extension of Trump’s promise to reassert American dominance in area. He not too long ago oversaw creation of the Area Pressure because the sixth department of the armed forces.
“Our future, past the Earth, is just not solely a matter of nationwide identification, however a matter of nationwide safety,” Trump mentioned in an announcement.
Vice President Mike Pence, who’s chairman of the Nationwide Area Council, additionally plans to attend Wednesday’s launch.