Americans once again launch from U.S. soil for the first time since the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program.
SpaceX will send two NASA astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, on a test mission to help prove the systems meet NASA’s requirements for certification to carry astronauts to the ISS and back. The launch on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, at 4:32pm, marks NASA’s first manned mission from the Space Coast of Florida since the Space Shuttle Atlantis returned to earth on August 31, 2011.
“Through NASA’s virtual launch experience, we make it possible for more people than ever to watch the beginning of this new era in human spaceflight,” said Bettina Inclán, NASA’s associate administrator for Communications. “We’re already seeing people participate online with the #LaunchAmerica hashtag and helping build the excitement for this historic moment.”
Live video coverage and countdown commentary begins at 12:15 p.m. May 27. Watch the launch and all prelaunch activities on NASA TV, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. You also can share reasons you are excited for the launch on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #LaunchAmerica for a chance to be shared on NASA’s social media channels.
Douglas Hurley became an astronaut in 2000, flying on STS-127, as well as the final shuttle flight, STS-135, and spent 28 days in space. Robert Behnkenhas also became a NASA astronaut in 2000, logging 29 days in space aboard STS-123 and STS-130 where he performed six spacewalks. This will be the first time NASA astronauts will test the spacecraft systems in orbit. This mission will validate the SpaceX’s crew transportation system, including the launch pad, rocket, spacecraft, and operational capabilities. The two astronauts will make an extended stay at the space station during the Demo-2 mission.
Behnken will be the joint operations commander for the mission, responsible for activities such as rendezvous, docking and undocking, as well as Demo-2 activities while the spacecraft is docked to the space station. He was selected as a NASA astronaut in 2000 and has completed two space shuttle flights. Behnken flew STS-123 in March 2008 and STS-130 in February 2010, and he performed three spacewalks during each mission. Born in St. Anne, Missouri, he has bachelor’s degrees in physics and mechanical engineering from Washington University and earned a master’s and doctorate in mechanical engineering from California Institute of Technology. Before joining NASA, Behnken was a flight test engineer with the U.S. Air Force.
Hurley will be the spacecraft commander for Demo-2, responsible for activities such as launch, landing and recovery. He was selected as an astronaut in 2000 and has completed two spaceflights. Hurley served as pilot and lead robotics operator for both STS‐127 in July 2009 and STS‐135, the final space shuttle mission, in July 2011. The New York native was born in Endicott but considers Apalachin his hometown. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Tulane University in Louisiana and graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in Maryland. Before joining NASA, he was a fighter pilot and test pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Learn more and see more images on NASA’s LAUNCH AMERICA website.