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NASA administrator urges people not to travel to Florida to watch historic SpaceX launch

By the end of May, NASA astronauts will be launched into space again in the United States almost 10 years after launching a Russian rocket in Kazakhstan. However, NASA does not want the public to travel to see the mission in person. . NASA manager Jim Bridenstine is urging people to stay home and see their historical mission online due to ongoing safety issues related to the coronavirus epidemic.

NASA's Jim Bridenstine told a press conference today at the press conference about the agency's response to the COVID-19 epidemic.

This release will be an important achievement for both NASA and the United States. On May 27, NASA's astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will fly orbit in a newly developed private spacecraft developed by NASA's commercial partner, SpaceX. Called the Crew Dragon, this capsule is designed to launch on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and take the duo to the International Space Station.

This is the first time that American astronauts have launched with American-made space vehicles from US soil since the 2011 space shuttle program ended. NASA astronauts have gained confidence since the space shuttle was launched in Florida. NASA traveling to and from the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz rocket costs about $ 88 million per passenger. To end its reliance on Russia, NASA created vehicles to and from the Space Shuttle at two private companies, SpaceX and Boeing, to create a vehicle to and from the Space Station as part of a program called One Commercial Crew. After six years of development, SpaceX is finally ready to pick up people on the vehicle and return the American human flight back to Florida.

This launch will be the first record that people have started orbiting on a civilian-developed spacecraft, and it will also be SpaceX, the first space launch. At normal times, the launch would have attracted a huge crowd to Florida and its beaches, and NASA would have promoted it. But due to closures across the United States, NASA wants a much quieter job.

NASB astronauts Bob Behnken (L) and Doug Hurley (R) will fly in SpaceX's Crew Dragon
Image: SpaceX

“Many people on this line know that we are attracting a huge crowd when launching into space from the Kennedy Space Center. That's not what we're trying to do right now,” said Bridenstine. "We are trying to get access to the International Space Station without attracting as many people as we normally do."

Prior to the rocket launch, NASA invited space enthusiasts to the Kennedy Space Center to see the launch pad's facilities and vehicles. This time, Bristol Lin said NASA will keep the center closed to the public. NASA also said it will work with Florida to strengthen highway patrol and crowd control near Kennedy. Ultimately, however, crackdowns on crowds outside of Kennedy will come from local governments. “NASA currently has no plans to plan beyond our Kennedy Space Center in relation to our activities. "It will be left primarily to Florida."

Meanwhile, Bridenstine said it is taking additional precautions to ensure that NASA employees who will be released in the future are safe. NASA has modified the shift schedule so that people in a group do not work on the same vehicle at the same time. NASA also ensures that people have appropriate protective gear when working close to each other. Modifications to the mission control area are also being considered. “When we launch into space, there are a lot of people in the mission control facility,” said Bridenstine. "We need to make sure that we are using different rooms to separate people as much as possible." He noted that plexiglass can be deployed to separate people working at various stations within mission control.

Ultimately, NASA employees who are on a mission can move forward if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe, Bridenstine said. When asked if someone had come forward, Bridenstine said no employee was "actually," except for a few people wondering if NASA was taking the right precautions.

"We're seeing everything we can do to guide the social distance, and at the same time we are starting this important mission to the International Space Station," said Bridenstine.

Despite petitions for people to stay home for launch, Bridenstine said he still wants the public to take on missions, even if it's a mission. "We want them to participate," he said. “We want them to participate. We want them to talk to friends and family. But I want to watch it outside of the Kennedy Space Center. ”

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