NASA and SpaceX prepare for Crew-1 launch

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HOUSTON (CW39) – After much anticipation and years of research and planning, launch day for the historic SpaceX Crew-1 mission is almost here. Takeoff is set for Saturday evening at Kennedy Space center in Florida.

In May, NASA and SpaceX launched two astronauts to the international space station aboard a commercial rocket for the first time. That mission was called Demo-2. It was successful and set the stage for what is going on this weekend, which is something NASA is calling a new wave of space exploration and part of making American astronaut launches relatively routine.

The four person crew going up this weekend will live on the space station for six months.

Astronaut Michael Hopkins, the spacecraft commander, says he is excited to be part of this historic mission.

“We’re starting this new era where we’re going to rotate crews to the International Space Station from American soils with our commercial partners like SpaceX, so we’re very excited to be a part of that,” said Hopkins.

It was about ten years ago when NASA invested more than 300 million dollars into commercial crew development. They partnered with several companies, including Boeing and SpaceX. Testing ramped up in 2018 and three test flights were completed last year.

One of the four astronauts for the Crew-1 mission is Shannon Walker. She was born and raised here in Houston.

“I am just so happy to be here in Florida getting ready for this launch. The difficulty with going third in line here is everybody has already said thank you to everybody, but I’ll just echo their thanks to the whole team that have gotten us here, our training team, the people building the hardware, the space station that’s ready for us. It’s just, it’s just so exciting. So thank you, everybody, for coming out and seeing us off,” said Walker.

Walker graduated from Westbury High School on the southwest side of Houston. She received her degrees from Rice University and began her professional career at Johnson Space Center. She is a mission specialist for this historic flight.

If you want to watch this bit of history, take off is set for 6:49 CST Saturday evening. NASA TV will be covering the launch. Click here to watch it live!

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