On Friday, NASA officials gave approval for SpaceX to continue preparations in conjunction with the government’s independent space agency for a historic rocket launch scheduled to take place next week. According to a report by Politico, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are among those expected to be in attendance for the launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission will be SpaceX’s first-ever crewed space flight and the first mission during which NASA astronauts will be sent into orbit aboard a vehicle that was constructed by a private company. Liftoff is currently on-target for 4:33 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27.
According to Politico, Trump was prompted to attend by Florida Representative Michael Waltz. In a Friday interview, Waltz indicated that the president was “fired up” about the historical significance of the event and spoke symbolically about the launch in relation to Trump’s efforts to relaunch the American economy amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“With everything going on, the relaunch of America, the relaunch of our economy, the relaunch of Florida, the symbolism I think is really exciting,” he said. “[President Trump] appreciates it for how important it is for Florida’s economy, how important it is for the country.”
Waltz also indicated that he would be traveling to the Florida event with the president aboard Air Force One.
Per a blog on its official home page announcing that the Flight Readiness Review had been concluded, NASA confirmed that astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will man the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft, which are destined for the International Space Station.
Trump’s reported trip to Florida for the launch comes after he resumed traveling just under a month ago; the president previously spent nearly two months at the White House as a safety measure to protect from the novel coronavirus. Trump resumed travel in accordance with his administration’s viewpoint that some level of normal activity must be resumed in spite of the ongoing pandemic.
As it happens, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has shared Trump’s enthusiasm for reopening the U.S. economy and public spaces. Recently, the president implored the state of California to allow Musk, who co-founded the electric car company Tesla, to reopen a Fremont, CA assembly plant.
As reported by The Inquisitr, Trump tweeted, “California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely!” Tesla’s standoff with Alameda County officials came to an end shortly thereafter when the company was given the go-ahead to reopen, provided that certain safety recommendations were implemented.