'We want to keep people safe’: NASA asking public to not show up for historic launch

Video: NASA asking public to not show up for historic launch

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — NASA and SpaceX are just weeks away from a historic flight to the International Space Station.

It will be the first manned launch to the station from the U.S. since the retirement of the shuttle program but NASA is asking potential spectators to watch from home.

The Demo-2 mission will set the stage for regular commercial crew launches from Florida’s space coast.

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NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are about to suit up for the first crewed flight to the International Space Station to launch from U.S. soil in nearly a decade.

“It’s well past time to be launching an American rocket from the Florida coast to the International Space Station and I’m certainly honored to be part of it,” Hurley said.

Both SpaceX and Boeing are working toward the certification of human spaceflight systems to transport crew on operational missions to the station as part of NASA’s commercial crew program.

Hurley and Behnken will help test the end to end capabilities of the SpaceX crew dragon when they liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center later this month.

SpaceX is targeting a May 27 launch for the Demo-2 mission, but in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, NASA is asking the public not to show up for the historic launch.

“The challenge we’re up against is, is that we want to keep people safe. That’s the number one highest priority of NASA, keeping people safe. We’re asking people not to travel to the KSC and I want to tell you it makes me sad to say it,” said Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator.

Hurley and Behnken are in for an extended mission in low-Earth orbit because there is only one NASA astronaut aboard the ISS, Chris Cassidy.

Hurley and Behnken will participate as crew members to safely maintain and operate the station.