NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted that billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s space company, SpaceX, will send two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station aboard its Falcon 9 rocket from Florida – marking the company’s first mission carrying humans aboard.
“BREAKING: On May 27, @NASA will once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil!” Bridenstine wrote on Twitter.
The U.S. space agency had previously said the mission, in which NASA astronauts Bob Behnken, 48, and Doug Hurley, 52 will ride SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule to the space station, would launch sometime in May.
As with most high-profile missions, the new date could slip. If all goes as planned, the mission would mark the first time NASA launches its astronauts from U.S. soil since the 2011 retirement of the space shuttle.
The space agency has since relied on Russia’s space program to ferry astronauts to the space station.
A decade in the making, next month’s mission is the final test for Crew Dragon before regularly flying humans for NASA under its Commercial Crew Program, a public-private initiative. Boeing Co (BA.N) is developing its competing Starliner astronaut taxi as the agency’s second ride to space.