President Trump plans to be in Florida on Wednesday, along with Vice President Mike Pence, to watch American astronauts head into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center for the first time in nearly a decade.
It is slated to be the first time since NASA’s space shuttle program ended in 2011 that U.S. astronauts will launch into space on an American rocket and from American soil.
This time around, though, a private company is running the show.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is responsible for the launch, while NASA is the customer, as businesses start to send astronauts to the International Space Station.
The NASA/SpaceX Commercial Crew flight test launch will carry NASA’s newest test pilots, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
SpaceX and @NASA completed a full rehearsal of launch day activities with @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug ahead of Crew Demo-2 pic.twitter.com/n3B2BBBmnq
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 23, 2020
They are scheduled to lift off from launch pad 39A, the same one the Apollo astronauts used to get to the moon in 1969.
NASA is working to return astronauts to the moon by 2024 under orders from the Trump administration.
Meanwhile, President Trump recently oversaw the creation of the Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces.
“Our destiny, beyond the Earth, is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security,” he said in a statement.
Vice President Pence serves as chairman of the National Space Council.