Entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the International Space Station on Wednesday, ending the nine-year human space flight interruption of the US Space Director.

The Crew Dragon capsule and its Falcon 9 rocket of SpaceX, California, carrying astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are scheduled for Wednesday at 4:33 pm EST (02:03 am US Standard Time Thursday) from NASA The launch pad last used by the bureau took off for the 2011 space shuttle mission.

A White House spokesperson said that President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will personally watch the launch.

For Musk, SpaceX and NASA, safe flight will be a milestone in the production of reusable spacecraft to make space travel more affordable. Musk is the founder and CEO of SpaceX and the CEO of Tesla.

Hurley, 53, and Bacon, 49, arrived at the Kennedy Space Center from Houston last week. He said: “Bob and I have been working on this project for five years,” he said. “In many ways, this is a marathon. This is what you expect to develop a human-rated spacecraft that can travel to and from the International Space Station.”

NASA hopes to stimulate the commercial space market, granting US$3.1 billion (approximately Rs 23,460 crore) to SpaceX and US$4.5 billion (approximately Rs 3,056 crore) to Boeing to develop a confrontational space capsule and experiment to allow space. The bureau’s contract model purchases astronaut seats from two companies.

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule is not expected to launch its first crew until 2021.

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After the space agency and SpaceX officials convened for a final engineering inspection, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the mission “execution” at the Kennedy Space Center last week.

Last year, SpaceX successfully tested the Crew Dragon without astronauts during its first orbital mission to the space station. The vehicle was destroyed in a ground test in the second month, when a valve of its stopping system burst, causing an explosion, triggering a nine-month engineering investigation, which ended in January.

© Thomson Reuters 2020


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