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NASA sets date for first-ever astronaut flight on SpaceX rocket

SpaceX Crew Dragon
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off for an uncrewed test flight in Cape Canaveral, Fla., in March 2019.
(John Raoux / Associated Press)

Elon Musk’s SpaceX will fly American astronauts to the International Space Station on May 27, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced, setting an official launch date for the mission.

The launch, which Bridenstine announced in a tweet Friday, will send the first NASA astronauts from U.S. soil to the orbiting lab since the space shuttle was retired in 2011. Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are slated to be the first to fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft as part of what’s known as the Demo-2 mission.

Musk, the chief executive of SpaceX, founded the Hawthorne company in 2002 with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. This would be the first time the company flies humans.

The historic flight, from launch complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is the final test for SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft to be certified by the space agency to conduct regular flights to the station with crew on board.

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