NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken head to launch Pad39A to board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket during NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. May 27, 2020. NASA/Bill Ingalls/Handout via REUTERS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

NASA astronauts were set to travel into space on Thursday aboard SpaceX’s first manned rocket before the launch was called off due to rain and lightning 17 minutes before liftoff. Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will be the first Americans to enter space on a craft built entirely by a private company once they launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

The mission marks a number of milestones. In a historic partnership with a private company, NASA and SpaceX are sending astronauts into space on a private rocket, the Falcon-9. The launch will be America’s first launch on American soil since the space shuttle Atlantis’ final mission in 2011.

Since the end of NASA’s space shuttle program in 2011, American astronauts reached the International Space Station through Russian Soyuz spacecraft, which cost NASA about $86 million per astronaut, per flight in 2019. NASA will be live streaming the next launch attempt at 11 a.m. EDT on Saturday. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

American Spaceflight Is Now in Elon Musk’s Hands – The Atlantic – 5/27/2020
On more than one occasion, Musk’s move-fast-and-break-things mantra was diametrically opposed to NASA’s slow-and-steady ethos. The rocket made a flawless flight. But if someone had told those engineers that nearly a decade later, NASA would be willing to strap two of its finest astronauts into a SpaceX capsule and wave them off into space, they probably wouldn’t have believed it.

Trump embraces space launch as a MAGA moment – Politico – 5/27/2020
The Commercial Crew program, a unique public-private partnership, officially began in the Obama administration. But Trump has embraced it as his own first leap toward reclaiming American leadership in space and boosting private investment.”Nobody else has grasped it the way this president has,” [former Republican Rep. Robert] Walker said. “This president has made it part of his legacy. This president has put an emphasis on it. He has now put money behind that emphasis and he has created an excitement about space again we haven’t felt for a number of decades.”

Nasa SpaceX launch: What’s the mission plan? – BBC News – 5/24/2020
It seems remarkable but Nasa astronauts have not had the use of a brand new spaceship design for 39 years. Not since John Young and Bob Crippen climbed aboard the Columbia orbiter. Their shuttle had dials, switches and a control stick. Dragon is all touchscreen.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Mike Pence on Twitter, 5/27/2020: President @realDonaldTrump and I will be back at @NASAKennedy this Saturday to watch History in the Making as we send American Astronauts back to Space on an American Rocket for the first time in nearly 10 years! #LaunchAmerica 🇺🇸

SpaceX on Twitter, 5/27/2020: Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon will lift off from Launch Complex 39A – the same place Saturn V launched humanity to the Moon and from where the first and final Space Shuttle missions lifted off https://t.co/wOSsbCRqi7

The Franklin Institute on Twitter, 5/27/2020: As the safety of the crew is the top priority, it was the best decision to make. The next opportunity will be Saturday, May 30 at 3:22pm ET. Live #LaunchAmerica coverage will begin at 11am ET. https://t.co/MbBwu3JYpQ

Cindy Pom on Twitter, 5/27/2020: FULL RECAP of the events leading up to the delay of the #SpaceX #CrewDragon launch, the first spaceflight to take off from the US in nearly a decade. See you Saturday.

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