NASA and SpaceX have settled on a date for the high-profile return of astronauts to Earth orbit from U.S. soil, Jim Bridenstine said via Twitter.

NASA and SpaceX have settled on a date for the high-profile return of astronauts to Earth orbit from U.S. soil.


"On May 27, NASA will once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil," agency administrator Jim Bridenstine announced via Twitter on Friday, finally adding specificity to a date long rumored to be in the late May timeframe.


If schedules hold – especially with the coronavirus pandemic in play – a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on a trip to the International Space Station, a feat not accomplished since the last space shuttle flight in July 2011. Since then, American astronauts have traveled to the ISS on Russian spacecraft.


Their ride to orbit will be Crew Dragon, a 27-foot-tall vehicle with a "trunk" that sports solar panels and can carry additional cargo. The pad hosting the mission, 39A, was once home to Saturn V rockets of the Apollo era and was the starting point for the first flight to the moon in 1969.


This story will be updated.


Contact Emre Kelly at aekelly@floridatoday.com or 321-242-3715. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @EmreKelly.


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