The United States is waiting for a historic space flight. NASA will send two astronauts to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX Crew capsule. Americans will fly into space for the first time from their homeland after the landing of the space shuttles in 2011.
NASA has been waiting for this moment for almost a decade. Following the tragedy with the Colombia shuttle in 2003, when seven of the crew died when it exploded as it entered the atmosphere, the end of the shuttle was announced. They landed, and American astronauts flew to the ISS from Baikonur with Russian transport ships. Now Space X is changing things. The two nominees are Bob Benken and Doug Hurley. On May 27, they took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with the Falcon 9 rocket, from which the Crew Dragon capsule will be released.
Doug Hurley, astronaut: Amazing vehicle. A work of art as technology. We are very excited to be in a real spaceship, not a simulator.
According to the plan, Doug will be able to perform manual maneuvers during the flight. The two say that as test pilots, their dream of making the first capsule flight to the ISS has come true.
Bob Benken, astronaut: We expect a calm flight, quite noisy at the start. As for the flooding, no one has done it before and Doug and I try to be prepared for any situation. We expect the landing to be softer than with Soyuz ships, but definitely harder than with a shuttle.
When the return to earth will take place is still unclear. A decision on this is yet to be made in the course of the mission. but now all the energy is directed to take off. NASA has asked people not to gather to watch the launch due to measures against the coronavirus.