NASA and SpaceX are scheduled to launch astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken on a mission to the International Space Station at 4:33 pm Eastern Time (2 am IST) on Wednesday.
''Demo -2'' launch marks the first flight of NASA crews from the US soil since 2011 and the first launch of a rocket owned by a private company: SpaceX, the commercial space company founded by Elon Musk.
NASA has assigned two of its most experienced astronauts, Behnken and Hurley, to the upcoming SpaceX mission. The duo will fly on SpaceX''s Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifting off on a Falcon 9 rocket NASA''s Cape Canaveral facility from Florida, for an extended stay at the space station. The specific duration of the mission is yet to be determined.
Behnken will be the joint operations commander for the mission, responsible for activities such as rendezvous, docking and undocking, as well as Demo-2 activities while the spacecraft is docked to the space station. He was selected as a NASA astronaut in 2000 and has completed two space shuttle flights.
Hurley will be the spacecraft commander for Demo-2, responsible for activities such as launch, landing and recovery. He was selected as an astronaut in 2000 and has completed two spaceflights.
If successful, this would be a big win for SpaceX''s first-ever crewed mission in the company''s 18-year history. (ANI)