NASA Astronauts Arrive in Florida Week Before SpaceX Flight

James Marshall
May 23, 2020

The two astronauts who will end a nine-year launch drought for NASA arrived at Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, exactly one week before their historic SpaceX flight.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine - who shunned shaking palms with the pair - reiterated that it was exclusively the fifth time in historical past that the United States would launch a brand new house flight program.

A successful mission for Crew Dragon, which is to lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket Wednesday, will restore that capability and continue the nation's dominance in space, along with making scientific advances from space exploration. The tour group also included fellow astronauts Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins, who'll fly the next Crew Dragon mission later this year.

"I think it's an outstanding flying machine", astronaut Doug Hurley said upon arrival at Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday.

Hurley, 53, is a retired Marine Corps colonel who was the pilot on two Space Shuttle missions, including the program's final flight.

Because Falcon 9 rockets are taller than the space shuttles that used to launch from Pad 39A, the new access arm is about 70 feet (21 meters) higher than the orbiter access arm that was previously attached to the FSS for 30 years. "It's much smaller, but it's a capsule". Hurley said, "it's been a long road"; he is looking forward to being one of the first humans to fly in the Crew Dragon capsule. The capsule also features a sci-fi futuristic look with new control panels that will be exclusively touch screen.

Building on the historic aspect of the moment, Administrator Bridenstine remarked "This will be the fifth time in American history when we have launched American astronauts on a brand-new vehicle".

SpaceX later announced that bad weather conditions from Arthur would push the launch back another to Tuesday, May 19.

"This is an awesome time to be an astronaut, with a new spacecraft", Behnken said during a press conference in Florida. Flight suits include a 3D-printed helmet and touchscreen-compatible gloves.

It's also the final test mission for SpaceX before NASA begins using its spacecraft for regular rotational flights to the space station.

'The spacecraft is created to do this autonomously but astronauts aboard the spacecraft and the station will be diligently monitoring approach and docking and can take control of the spacecraft if necessary'.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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