May 27, 2020, UNITED STATES. NASA has set the May date for the launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, carrying astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, from the Kennedy Space Center, to the International Space Station (ISS). It will be the first orbital launch of NASA astronauts from the United States since the final space shuttle mission, STS-135, in Jul 2011.
The spacecraft will dock with the less than 24 hours later. Hurley will serve as spacecraft commander for the mission, designated Demo-2, with Behnken as the designated joint operations commander.
Originally planned as a short term mission of about two weeks, NASA is considering whether to extend the mission to keep the ISS manpower at a productive level. The crew rotation in April left just three astronauts on board. Short-staffing restricts ongoing research and also the spacewalks required for urgent repairs.
NASA “will once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil,” said the administrator of the agency, Jim Bridenstine, when he announced the launch date in April.
Date written/update: 2020-03-17