Due to weather concerns, NASA has postponed the launch until Saturday, May 30th at 3:22 PM (EDT).
Wow… it’s hard to believe. Just a little over nine years ago, we covered the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavor and supplied storage for the Last Shuttle Project, which documented Endeavor’s last flight. Since then, there hasn’t been a manned launch from U.S. soil. When NASA needed to send someone up into space (such as to the ISS), we needed to send them up on Russian Soyuz capsules.
Today that changes. At 4:33 EDT, two U.S. astronauts will lift off on the first crewed flight aboard SpaceX’s Dragon 2 spacecraft powered by a Falcon 9 rocket from launchpad LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL. Not only will it be the first manned space flight from the U.S. in nearly a decade, but it will also be the first-ever commercial rocket launch with a crew. SpaceX (from whom all the space hardware is provisioned) is a privately-held company rather than a government agency.
As another interesting angle, this will be a launch that very few will see in person. With the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, both NASA and SpaceX are discouraging the general public from gathering in large groups to observe. Fortunately, there will be plenty of coverage, ranging from NASA’s official streaming channel, to most major news outlets, to the American Museum of Natural History‘s page, featuring narration by Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson.
With the return of manned space flight originating in the U.S. and NASA’s Artemis program, which is aiming to return to the Moon by 2024, we’re all excited here at OWC – a fascination with space travel runs deep in the company’s DNA. Or, as OWC Founder and CEO Larry O’Connor said, “It’s truly an exciting day. The final frontier and exploration thereof are turning sci-fi into sci-reality more every day. Go Go Go Dragon!”