SpaceX's first Crew Dragon spacecraft to carry astronauts rolled out to its Florida launch pad today (May 21) for a much-anticipated flight for NASA next week.
The Crew Dragon capsule, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, reached the historic Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida — the same site where NASA's Apollo and space shuttle missions launched.
This big step comes less than one week before Crew Dragon is set to launch two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the first crewed test flight of the spacecraft. The mission, called Demo-2, is scheduled to lift off on Wednesday (May 27) at 4:33 p.m. EDT (2033 GMT).
Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 in the hangar at Launch Complex 39A pic.twitter.com/l758CdYXNQMay 21, 2020
The spacecraft and rocket rolled to the launchpad overnight last night after, earlier in the day yesterday (May 20), veteran NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who will launch on Demo-2, arrived at Kennedy.
This historic launch will be a major milestone for commercial spaceflight. Crew Dragon's launch will be the first time since a new type of crew vehicle launched from the United States since NASA's space shuttle program began in 1981.It will also be the first crewed launch to orbit from the U.S. since the shuttle program ended in 2011.
During the flight, Hurley and Behnken will test the Crew Dragon spacecraft, which can fit up to four passengers, by flying to the space station, controlling the craft manually, docking with the space station and then (at some point within 1 to 4 months after launch) returning home safely to Earth.
Check out a few more views of SpaceX's Crew Dragon and its Falcon 9 ahead of launch below.
Visit Space.com daily for complete coverage of SpaceX's Crew Dragon Demo-2 flight.
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