NASA has confirmed that on May 27th, SpaceX will send its first humans to space aboard its Crew Dragon capsule. This will be the first time astronauts have been sent to space on American soil since the final space shuttle mission in 2011, and the first time a private space company will pull this off.
Flying onboard this mission — called Demo-2 — are astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley. The latter was once the commander of STS-135, the final space shuttle mission mentioned before. He will be commanding Demo-2 this time around.
Demo-2 is using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket with the newest version of its Crew Dragon capsule. After launching on the 27th, the astronauts onboard will rendevous with the ISS the next day. Behnken and Hurley will be joining three other astronauts that are already occupying the ISS.
Below is the announcement tweet from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine:
BREAKING: On May 27, @NASA will once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil! With our @SpaceX partners, @Astro_Doug and @AstroBehnken will launch to the @Space_Station on the #CrewDragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Let's #LaunchAmerica 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/RINb3mfRWI
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) April 17, 2020
On May 1st, NASA will host a press conference that will take place completely remotely due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns. During the press conference, the agency will provide an overview of the mission and will include a round-robin of interview questions for the crew members.
Boeing is also working to get humans to space via its Starliner capsule. Although they are competing directly with SpaceX on these missions, Boeing probably won’t launch a human to space until next year.
SpaceX’s success will be a huge milestone for commercial efforts to colonize space. Stay tuned for more updates on this historic mission!