Trump to visit Florida for SpaceX launch with NASA astronauts

Veteran NASA astronauts preparing to blast off in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule shared their expectations for the approaching historic launch.

Asked about going ahead with the mission in the midst of the pandemic, Behnken told reporters: "Where there's a will, there's a way".

There'll be a final launch readiness review on Monday, leading up to Wednesday's launch day with President Donald Trump and other VIPs in attendance.

Trump said while signing a directive that led to the establishment of the Space Force that his administration "is reclaiming America's heritage as the world's greatest space-faring nation".

Behnken and Hurley were among the first astronauts to begin working and training on SpaceX's next-generation human space vehicle and were selected for their extensive test pilot and flight experience, including several missions on the space shuttle.

After reviewing mission plans for a day and a half, mission managers cleared SpaceX to send NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station at 4:33 p.m. ET (1:33 p.m. PT) Wednesday.

The White House portrayed the launch as an extension of Trump's promise to reaffirm American dominance in space. He noted that SpaceX tweaked the Crew Dragon's design after last year's successful uncrewed demonstration flight to the space station, to address a potential collision risk that the Russians called to attention.

Bob Behnken: Robert "Bob" Behnken is a US Air Force Colonel who is on his third trip to the space, having logged over 708 hours into orbit with over 37 hours of spacewalks.

The rocket will accelerate to a speed of approximately 17,000 miles per hour, according to NASA.

SpaceX's program revolves around reusing key components, including capsules and rockets. After that, astronauts will stay in the space station and return home after crew contributing to ISS 'work for three months. The capsule was tested in January. The astronauts offered their final thoughts before heading to the International Space Station.

On May 21, 2020, inside the Operations Support Building II at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA and SpaceX managers participate in a flight readiness review for the upcoming Demo-2 launch.

"A new era of human spaceflight is set to begin", NASA said in a statement.

NASA's administrator Jim Bridenstein echoed the astronauts' sentiments at a later news briefing Friday.

The Demo-2 mission will be the final major step before NASA's Commercial Crew Program certifies Crew Dragon for operational, long-duration missions to the space station. The decision "is based on the availability of the next Commercial Crew launches", says the Nasa . These activities are a part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which is working with the US aerospace industry to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil for the first time since 2011.

During a recent interview with Fox News, Pence added, "When that rocket goes off next week, it'll remind the American people that even in the midst of the most challenging times, America still moves forward".

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