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NASA & SpaceX Complete Flight Readiness Review Ahead Of Human Launch Next Week

NASA's Kathy Lueders at SpaceX's Flight Readiness Review. Photo: NASA
NASA's Kathy Lueders at SpaceX's Flight Readiness Review. Photo: NASA

NASA has given SpaceX the go-ahead to launch astronauts from Kennedy Space Center next week, a first since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011. NASA and SpaceX completed what’s called the Flight Readiness Review -- one of the last major hurdles before launching two astronauts next week.

Bob Behnkin and Doug Hurley will launch on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, a test flight for the vehicle on a trip to the International Space Station.

"The launch readiness review was good and we are a go,” said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine. The FRR, cunducted at KSC, looks at all aspects of the rocket and capsule before launch.

While the review is complete, NASA and SpaceX will continue final preparations ahead of the launch, including a dress reherasal for the astronauts to suit up and strap in to the capsule. A final Launch Readiness Review will happen next week.

"We’re not done," said NASA Commercial Crew Program Manager Kathy Lueders. "We've got to do this right. We've got to launch Bob and Doug, we've got to make sure they're taken care of on orbit and we've got to make sure they get home. We are committed to do that."

The mission is part of NASA’s $6 billion dollar Commercial Crew Program, using private companies SpaceX and Boeing to send astronauts to the station.

SpaceX complete an uncrewed flight of the Crew Dragon capsule to the station last year. Boeing's test flight ended in failure when its Starliner capsule failed to reach the right orbit to meet up with the ISS.

The crewed SpaceX launch is currently scheduled for Wednesday May 27 at 4:33 p.m. ET.

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."