SpaceX and NASA are partnering to send astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Haley to the International Space Station. The launch will take place on Wednesday, May 27th from the Florida Kennedy Space Center using a Falcon 9 rocket. The US has not sent Americans to space using American rockets from American soil in almost 10 years, with this being the first SpaceX manned mission since the company’s inception.
SpaceX has found fame with their reusable launch system development program. Their goal is to create technologies and space crafts that can be reused multiple times, contrary to the typical builds used by NASA and other space programs around the globe. As of now, only the first stage of the Falcon 9 is reusable. CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk, has stated that it is imperative to create a reusable second stage in order to develop settlements on Mars.
While Behnken and Haley will not be going on a journey to Mars, they may spend up to 110 days at the station. NASA states that the “…specific mission duration will be determined once on station based on the readiness of the next commercial crew launch.”