Astronauts excited about upcoming SpaceX launch

Space Science

A mockup of the SpaceX crew capsule is seen on display in front of the Vehicle Assembly Building during a news conference at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

MYSTERY WIRE — The two astronauts who were aboard SpaceX’s first crew flight say they are pulling for the four who will take part in the second launch this weekend.

“I think probably the biggest piece of advice that we gave them was to remember that even though we did it previously and our test flight was successful and they’re a certified mission, they are still taking the Dragon capsule to places it hasn’t been,” Bob Behnken told The Associated Press in an interview Friday.

Behnken and Doug Hurley earlier this year became the first NASA astronauts to launch to the International Space Station on an American spacecraft from American soil since the retirement of the space shuttle fleet in 2011.

Four astronauts are scheduled to rocket to the space station on Saturday night.

“You’d be naive to think that we’re not going to learn more about the vehicle,” Hurley said. “And that’s why I think it’s great to have the test pilots on board.”  

For NASA, it marks the long-awaited start of regular crew rotations at the ISS, with private companies providing the lifts. The crew of three Americans and one Japanese have named their Dragon capsule Resilience given all the challenges of 2020: coronavirus and social isolation, protests against racial injustice, and a particularly difficult election and campaign season.

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