NASA Urging Spectators "Stay At Home" For First Human Space Launch Since 2011
NASA leaders are asking people to stay at home for next month’s launch of two astronauts from Kennedy Space Center, the first human launch from the U.S. in nearly a decade.
The May 27 launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule with astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnkin was expected to draw huge crowds on the Space Coast. It’s the first human launch since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011, sending the astronauts on a trip to the International Space Station.
"We're asking people to stay at home to watch from home," said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine. "We want them engaged, we want them to participate. We want them to tell their friends and family but we also want them to watch from a place that's not the Kennedy Space Center."
He said additional safety measures are in place like distributing PPE and installing plastic dividers for NASA staff working at Kennedy Space Center. Shifts at launch and mission control have been divided to keep the number of people working in the same place at a minimum.
The mission named DM-2 is a critical test-flight of NASA's Commercial Crew Program -- a $6 billion partnership with SpaceX and Boeing to end a decade-long reliance on Russia for rides to the station.
SpaceX successfully completed an uncrewed mission last year. Boeing's attempt to launch an uncrewed version of its Starliner capsule failed to reach the station back in December. The company said it will attempt the mission once again before launching humans on the capsule.