NASA is gearing up to celebrate a huge milestone in the Commercial Crew Program. The space agency is inviting everyone to #LaunchAmerica on Saturday, November 14, 2020. On that day, the SpaceX Crew Dragon will lift off at 7:49 PM EST from Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Crew Dragon will carry a full crew of four astronauts to the ISS for a six-month science mission.
This will mark the first time since the retiring of the Space Shuttle fleet that America has been able to put its astronauts into orbit. In addition to being the first crewed Crew Dragon mission, there will also be many other firsts made that day. One of the firsts is that the mission will mark the first four-person crew ever on any capsule and on a commercial mission.
The launch marks astronaut Victor Glover’s first spaceflight, and Shannon Walker will be the first woman on a commercial orbital mission. Astronaut Sochi Noguchi will be the first international crew member on Crew Dragon in the first international partner astronaut to fly aboard three orbital spacecraft types. Noguchi has previously flown on the space shuttle, the Russian Soyuz capsule, and will now fly on Crew Dragon.
The Crew Dragon is also the first commercial spacecraft that is been certified by NASA and the FAA to carry astronauts on regular missions to space. The launch also marks the first certified mission under the NASA Commercial Crew Program. As part of the celebration, fans all around the world are invited to show how they are counting down to the historic launch using the hashtag #LaunchAmerica.
NASA wants people to post photos or videos on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, using the hashtag to show how they’re celebrating. It’s certainly exciting for America to finally regain the ability to put its astronauts in orbit after having to hitch a ride with Russia to the space station for years.