Two astronauts are gearing up for the first launch from US soil in nearly a decade, but while your first inclination might be to watch it all go down IRL at the Kennedy Space Center, NASA is asking spectators to simply not.
The SpaceX rocket is set to take off from the Florida-based facility on May 27, with astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken aboard and headed for the International Space Station. Though in years past, hundreds of thousands of excited spectators have crowded the center and nearby beaches, NASA is advising the public to skip the real thing and opt for the at-home live stream.
“The challenge that we’re up against right now is we want to keep everybody safe,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a press conference, The Associated Press reports. “And so we’re asking people not to travel to the Kennedy Space Center, and I will tell you that makes me sad to even say it. Boy, I wish we could make this into something really spectacular.”
On May 27 we launch into a new era of human spaceflight. We launch for the first time in 9 years from American soil, with American Astronauts on an American rocket. We launch together with our partners at @SpaceX as part of our Commercial Crew Program. We #LaunchAmerica. Pictured here is SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft that will carry @nasaastronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the @iss. It will lift off on a Falcon 9 rocket, from Launch Complex 39A in Florida, for the Demo-2 mission, the final flight test for SpaceX. The mission will validate our partner’s crew capabilities to return American spaceflight from American soil since the end of the space shuttle program so that we can continue preparing our #Artemis missions to the Moon — and beyond. #letsdothis #crewdragon #spacex #nasa
According to Travel & Leisure, the decision as to whether nearby parks, beaches, and roadways will be open for the launch remains unclear. The decision will come from local public officials. However, fans can watch the broadcast on TV or via the online live stream, NASA promises.
A number of new procedures have also been implemented to protect employees at the Kennedy Space Center amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, including face masks, hand sanitizer, and required two-week quarantines for the astronauts set to take off, per the report.
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World news – US – NASA’s Asking Everyone to Stay Home to Watch the Upcoming Crewed Rocket Launch