Florida space launch: NASA, SpaceX set date to launch astronauts from US soil for first time since 2011

Florida

Astronauts Bob Behnken, left, and Doug Hurley answer questions during a news conference after a Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket test flight demonstrating the capsule’s emergency escape system at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. The two astronauts will be the first crew of the SpaceX manned capsule. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (WFLA) – NASA has officially set a date for two American astronauts to be launched to the International Space Station from Florida’s Space Coast. It will be the first time astronauts have been launched into space from United States soil since 2011.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Friday the two astronauts – Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley – are set to launch at 4:32 p.m. on May 27 from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.

Behnken and Hurley will be flying on an American rocket – SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. The spacecraft will be atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

Behnken and Hurley are headed to the space station for an extended stay as part of the Demo-2 mission. NASA has not set an exact duration for that mission.

NASA officials say the Demo-2 mission is the final major step before Crew Dragon is certified for operational, long-duration missions to the space station.

According to NASA, that certification “lays the groundwork for future exploration of the Moon and Mars starting with the agency’s Artemis program, which will land the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface in 2024.”

In this photo provided by NASA, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft await liftoff from NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. SpaceX is about to launch a few tons of research to the International Space Station — plus ice cream. (Kim Shiflett/NASA via AP)

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