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AFP
May 24, 2020

NASA gives go-ahead for first crewed SpaceX flight on 27th

World

AFP
May 24, 2020

WASHINGTON: NASA gave the green light on Friday to next week´s launch of two astronauts aboard a SpaceX vessel — the first crewed space flight from US soil in nine years and a crucial step towards ending American dependence on Russian rockets.

Top officials at the US space agency and Elon Musk´s company had been meeting since Thursday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for final checks of the Crew Dragon space capsule ahead of its maiden May 27 crewed mission.

“At the end we got to a go,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters by video of the meticulous Flight Readiness Review, which provided the go-ahead.

US astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are scheduled to blast off from Kennedy´s historic Launch Pad 39A at 4:33 pm (2033 GMT) on Wednesday for the International Space Station, arriving the next day.

Asked about going ahead with the mission in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Behnken told reporters: “Where there´s a will, there´s a way.” Behnken and Hurley have been in strict quarantine since May 13 because of the pandemic, but they said their actual isolation began as far back as mid-March. “We have been in quarantine probably longer than any other space crew has ever been in the history of the space program,” Hurley said.