NASA, SpaceX astronaut launch: What to know

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Astronaut launch: What to know about NASA, SpaceX historic launch

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AND DAN, TELL US ABOUT THIS MISSION, AND WHAT WE CAN EXPECT TO SEE IN THE COMING DAY DAN: THE FIRST THING THAT COMES TO MIND WITHIN THE NEXT FEW DAYS WILL BE THE ARRIVAL OF THE TWO ASTRONAUTS THAT WILL FLY THE MISSION. THEY SHOULD BE ARRIVING AT THE KENNEDY SPACE CENTER ON THE 20TH, ONE WEEK FOR THEIR LAUNCH. THEY ARE RESTING, TAKING A LITTLE BIT OF A VACATION AND THEY WILL NOT GET ONE AFTER THEIR TRAINING BECAUSE THEY WILL BE IN SPACE FOR AS MANY AS FOUR MONTHS. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME PEOPLE HAVE FLOWN ON A BRAND-NEW SPACECRAFT, THE SPACEX DRAGON, OR ANY NEW UNITED STATES SPACECRAFT SINCE 1981. IT WILL BE A RETURN TO LAUNCHES OF ASTRONAUTS TO THE SPACE COAST SINCE WAY BACK IN 2011, NINE YEARS AGO. THAT IS COMING UP MAY 27. ADRIAN: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CRITICAL TESTS THAT HAD TO BE PERFORMED WITH THIS NEW CRAFT AND TO MAKE SURE IT WOULD WORK? DAN: THE MOST RECENT TEST WAS A BIG ONE, JUST THE FIRST OF THIS MONTH, A TEST OF THE PARACHUTE SYSTEM OF THE DRAGON, THE LANDING SYSTEM THAT PARACHUTES INTO THE OCEAN. THEY HAD TO DO 27 DIFFERENT TEST OF THESE PARACHUTES. TRYING TO GET THEM TO WORK SAFELY AND PROPERLY. ANOTHER BIG TEST WE WATCHED IN JANUARY WAS A RELATED TEST OF THE ABORT SYSTEM. IF A ROCKET GOES UP AND HAS A PROBLEM OR EXPLODES, THIS CAN GET AWAY FROM THAT, ROCKET AWAY FROM THE PROBLEM, SEPARATE FROM THE ROCKET, DEPLOY ITS PARACHUTES, AND SPLASH DOWN SAFELY, SOMETHING THE SPACE SHUTTLE CANNOT DO. A LOT OF TESTS, YEARS AND YEARS OF TESTS UP UNTIL NOW. ADRIAN: A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL WANT TO WATCH THIS AS IT UNFOLDS , BUT SOCIAL DISTANCING, NASA WAS TELLING PEOPLE NOT TO COME AT ALL BUT IT SOUNDS LIKE WE STILL EXPECT PEOPLE TO SHOW UP, SO HOW WILL SOCIAL DISTANCING PLAY IN? DAN: YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE. THAT WILL BE AN ADVENTURE. NASA IS SAYING FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, DO NOT COME TO WATCH OUR LAUNCH, STAY HOME. THE SHERIFF OF BREVARD COUNTY, WAYNE IV, SAYS — WAYNE IVEY SAYS TO COME, TAKE CAUTIONS, DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO, BUT DO WATCH. WHAT WILL HAPPEN? THERE IS A LOT OF ROOM ON THE BEACHES, A LOT OF PLACE FOR PEOPLE TO SPREAD OUT ON THE BEACHES, THE CAUSEWAYS, THE BEACHES OF THE LAGOON IN TITUSVILLE. WHAT WILL HAPPEN? I WILL BE WAITING TO SEE AND WAITING TO FIND OUT. ADRIAN: WE HAVE GOT AN UPCOMING LAUNCH THAT IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN TOMORROW MORNING AND ANOTHER ONE SET FOR SUNDAY. WILL THEY BE ABLE TO PULL THOSE OFF IF THE ONE TOMORROW GETS PUSHED OFF DUE TO WEATHER? DAN: NOT IF THAT HAPPENS. IF IT GETS PUSHED OFF, THE ONE TOMORROW, ATLAS FIVE WILL HOLD RESIDENT AND WILL GET A SECOND CHANCE TO LAUNCH. — HOLD PRECEDENT AND WILL GET A SECOND CHANCE TO LAUNCH. FEWER THAN 24 HOURS APART, IF ALL GOES AS HOPED AND PLANNED, AND ATLAS ROCKET ON SATURDAY AND A SPACEX ROCKET ON SUNDAY, AND PROBABLY NOT SINCE THE 1960’S HAS THAT HAPPENED. ADRIAN: DAN BILLOW OUT OF THE SPACE COAST, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR

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Astronaut launch: What to know about NASA, SpaceX historic launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. —NASA and SpaceX will attempt to make history on Wednesday when they launch astronauts into space from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011.

A long time coming
The last time astronauts went into space from U.S. soil was when the Space Shuttle Atlantis launched for the final time in 2011. This will be the first time human beings have flown on a brand new United States spacecraft since 1981. The rocket will blast off from the same pad where the space shuttle last soared in 2011.

It’s a commercial flight
The launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is part of NASA’s commercial crew program. The program was started in 2010. It is funded by the U.S. government and administered by NASA through which private vendors develop and operate vehicles to carry US and international astronauts to and from the International Space Station. SpaceX beat out Boeing to be first.

The astronauts go way back
The two astronauts who will test drive SpaceX’s brand new rocketship and return human orbital launches to the U.S. are classmates and friends. They’re also veteran spacefliers married to veteran spacefliers, and fathers of young sons. Retired Marine Col. Doug Hurley will be in charge of launch and landing, a fitting assignment for the pilot of NASA’s last space shuttle mission. Air Force Col. Bob Behnken will oversee rendezvous at the International Space Station.

How long is the trip?
It is expected to take the astronauts about 19 hours to reach the International Space Station. That means they’ll be arriving at the space station Thursday morning. But how long they’ll be there remains uncertain. Once at the ISS, the astronauts will stay for an undetermined amount of time between one month and 110 days, to assist the three astronauts already on board with scientific research.

NASA wants spectators to stay home
In the age of coronavirus, Brevard County officials and NASA are split on whether it’s a good idea for spectators to show up for next week’s space launch. In ordinary times, the beaches and roads along the Space Coast would be packed with people eager to witness the first astronaut launch from Florida in nine years. NASA and Space X are urging people to stay at home next Wednesday for safety reasons. But officials in Brevard County are rolling out the welcome mat in an effort to jump-start a tourism industry hit hard this spring by coronavirus lockdowns.

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