United States —
President Trump will attend NASA launch in Florida on Wednesday. President Donald Trump plans to be in Florida on Wednesday to see American astronauts go into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center for the first time in more than a decade.
Miami Mundo / CBS Local
It will be the first time since the space shuttle program ended in 2011 that American astronauts will launch into space aboard an American rocket from American soil.
Also the new Wednesday: a private company – not NASA – is running the show.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is the director and NASA’s the client, as companies begin to bring astronauts to the International Space Station.
The NASA / SpaceX commercial crew test launch will take new NASA test pilots, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
They are scheduled to take off from launch pad 39A, the same one that the Apollo astronauts used to reach the moon.
The move to private companies allows NASA to focus on deep space travel. The space agency is working to return astronauts to the moon by 2024 under White House orders, but that timeframe seems increasingly unlikely, even as three newly-elected commercial teams rush to develop the moon landings. Mars also calls.
The White House presented the launch as an extension of Trump’s promise to reaffirm American dominance in space. He recently oversaw the creation of the Space Force as the sixth branch of the military.
“Our destiny, beyond Earth, is not just a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security,” Trump said in a statement.
Vice President Mike Pence, who is the president of the National Space Council, also plans to attend the launch on Wednesday.