Veterans will take America back into space in first manned flight in 9 years

Julia LeDoux
April 21, 2020 - 12:06 pm



An active-duty Air Force colonel and a retired Marine colonel will be at the controls when America launches its first manned space flight in nine years next month.

Air Force Col. Bob Behnken, 49, of Creve Coeur, Missouri, and retired Marine Col. Doug Hurley, 53, of Endicott, New York, will be inside the spacecraft, a  Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon, as it heads to the International Space Station.

In a tweet Friday, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the space agency  "will once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil.” 

The launch is tentatively set to take place May 27 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA said. 

Behnken and Hurley are test pilots and veterans of previous space shuttle flights. Behnken was aboard the Endeavour in 2008 and 2010 and has more than 37 hours of spacewalk experience. Hurley was on the Endeavour in 2009. He was also the pilot of the Atlantis during its final mission in July of 2011.

As joint operations commander for the mission, Behnken is responsible for rendezvous, docking, and undocking with the space station. Hurley is in charge of launch and landing as  spacecraft commander, according to NASA 

The spacecraft is owned by SpaceX, which was founded by Elon Musk. 

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