We'd all like to leave the planet right about now. These two men will actually get to do it.
Two veteran astronauts have been scheduled to depart U.S. soil for the first time in nearly a decade, NASA said in a Friday announcement. Multiple-time spacegoers Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will take off May 27 in what is also SpaceX's first time carrying humans to the International Space Station.
While American astronauts have made trips into space in the past 10 years, they haven't departed from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida since NASA retired the space shuttle program in 2011. They typically rocketpool with Russian cosmonauts, paying around $83 million for a ride, The Washington Post reports. Hurley was on the last U.S. shuttle mission, and once again, he and Behnken will lift off from the center's pad 39A, which also saw several Apollo and shuttle missions.
The mission will also be a first for Elon Musk's SpaceX. Its Falcon 9 rocket has ferried supplies to and from the International Space Station, but in May, its manned Dragon spacecraft will carry astronauts as well. A successful launch would be a win over Boeing, which has a contract with NASA to fly crews to the ISS, despite SpaceX's past delays and failures.