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NASA to send first SpaceX crewed flight on May 27

A SpaceX rocket will send two American astronauts to the International Space Station on May 27, NASA informed on April 17, the first crewed spaceflight from the US in about 10 years.

“On May 27, @NASA will yet again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil!” Jim Bridenstine, head of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, tweeted.

Since July 2011, the United States has been dependent on Russian Soyuz rockets to send American astronauts to the ISS.

The US space agency had been aiming to organize the crewed mission in May and is sticking with the plan despite the global coronavirus pandemic.

Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will go to the ISS on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft also made by SpaceX, the company founded by tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. 

They will lift off at 4:32 pm (2032 GMT) on May 27 from historic launch pad 39A, the same one used for the Apollo and space shuttle missions, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA informed.

Being a modified version of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, The Crew Dragon capsule will take about 24 hours after lift-off for them to dock with the ISS. The length of their stay aboard the ISS has not been fixed.

The May mission will be a milestone for NASA, which has had issues turning the page on the space shuttle era. Shuttles transported American astronauts into space for three decades but two of them also blew up.

After abandoning the shuttle, NASA turned to private industry to develop its next-generation spacecraft and SpaceX and Boeing have been competing on rolling out a crewed capsule.

SpaceX came up with Crew Dragon and Boeing the Starliner but the Starliner suffered a setback in December during a test run.

SpaceX is now all set to become the first private company to send astronauts into space.

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