On Wednesday, NASA and SpaceX will collaborate on a launch that may define the future of space programs in the U.S. for years to come — and all eyes are on the two astronauts expected to take part. Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken — both colonels in the U.S. Air Force and experienced NASA astronauts — will be on SpaceX's Crew Dragon space shuttle for a mission called Demo-2. The two have been drumming up excitement on social media all week.
Demo-2 is SpaceX's first crewed mission ever, and its final test flight for the private company's spacecraft, according to a report by CNBC. It is a big day for NASA as well, as the first mission to launch astronauts from the U.S. since 2011. Many people in both the public and the private sector see it as a big reset for space programs in the U.S. in general. As NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine put it: "this is a new generation, a new era in spaceflight."
We're on our way! https://t.co/J9K5vQijoN— Bob Behnken (@AstroBehnken) May 20, 2020
Both NASA and SpaceX have clearly learned a lot from their collaborations over the years. SpaceX is the passion project of entrepreneur Elon Musk, who frequently relates his investment in the company to his love of science fiction like the Foundation novels by Isaac Asimov. In many eyes, the company has gained some legitimacy from its association with NASA, while NASA has in turn shown more willingness for spectacle.
Wednesday's launch is a perfect example of that, as Hurley and Behnken share a healthy mixture of exciting and technical posts on social media. The two have shown fans pictures and videos from their preparations, marveled at the technical specs of the machinery they're working with and even an inside look at the house where they are staying while they prepare. Here is a look at Hurley and Behnken's posts in the days leading up to their Demo-2 launch.
Meet the Team
We had a great time doing this. Maybe too much fun! https://t.co/Mf2eiiNZ82— Col. Doug Hurley (@Astro_Doug) May 22, 2020
Exciting couple of days here at @NASAKennedy! Crew arrival in Florida was awesome, seeing our vehicle roll to 39A was epic, and watching our @SpaceX Falcon9 1st stage fire one more time before our mission still has a smile on my face! pic.twitter.com/RzTCC11klw— Bob Behnken (@AstroBehnken) May 22, 2020
Absolutely! Looking forward to spending some “off” time there over the next few days. https://t.co/Lia9QTf41E— Col. Doug Hurley (@Astro_Doug) May 23, 2020
Next time is for real. https://t.co/ta10foBHmv— Bob Behnken (@AstroBehnken) May 24, 2020
Great to hear all is still good! There are some awesome details on the flight profile during the @NASA/@SpaceX Demo Mission available at the link below. Check out launch, docking, and return there! https://t.co/jql3x197yD https://t.co/OFXDSXcS3p— Bob Behnken (@AstroBehnken) May 26, 2020