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A brand-new age in the American space program is set to start as two seasoned NASA astronauts take off aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon en route to the International Space Station. Weather permitting, the launch is set up for 4:33 p.m. EDT Wednesday from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.It will be the first launch of American astronauts from U.S. soil in almost 9 years, because the last flight of the Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2011. It will also be the first manned flight for the SpaceX Team Dragon and the first time an industrial spacecraft has actually brought NASA astronauts into orbit.How to enjoy the SpaceX Crew Dragon launch The team, commander Douglas Hurley and astronaut Robert Behnken, both joined the astronaut corps in 2000. Hurley, a previous Marine fighter pilot and test pilot, is a veteran of two previous space objectives, serving as pilot of the last space shuttle bus flight in 2011. Behnken, a former Air Force test pilot, has logged more than 708 hours in space on two shuttle missions and completed 6 spacewalks. The Crew Dragon will be brought up by a Falcon 9 rocket with 1.7 million pounds of thrust from its very first phase engines. After powering the spacecraft out of the lower environment, SpaceX will attempt to land the first phase on an off-shore droneship while the 2nd phase continues the reach orbit. Twelve minutes after liftoff, the Crew Dragon will be launched to fly on its own. It’s arranged to come to

the International Area Station at 11:40 a.m. Thursday. The mission, called Demonstration 2, is the conclusion of a six-year, multibillion-dollar NASA effort to end its reliance on Russia’s

Soyuz spacecraft to transport astronauts to and from the spaceport station. The Business Team Program will ultimately consist of launches by Boeing as well as SpaceX.The launch would usually be expected to draw substantial crowds of viewers to Florida’s”Area Coast,”but the Kennedy Area Center remains closed to non-essential workers due to the

coronavirus pandemic and the site will not be open for public launch viewing.The astronauts’families are there for the special day, but with only a handful of invited guests rather of a big event of supporters. Both Hurley and Behnken are wed to fellow astronauts: Hurley’s other half, Karen Nyberg, just recently retired from NASA after 2 area objectives, consisting of a long-duration stay aboard the space station, while Behnken’s wife, Megan McArthur, helped repair the Hubble Space Telescope throughout a last shuttle servicing mission in 2009. Showing up in Florida with a flyby of your daddy’s spaceship on the launch pad … Valuable. #LaunchAmerica #CrewDragon!.?.!— Karen L. Nyberg(@AstroKarenN)” We were anticipating commemorating with great deals of individuals who could physically come to the Cape and enjoy watching the launchin person,”McArthur stated.”But I have actually gotten numerous notes

of assistance from people all over the country stating hey, we’re still going to be with you, we’re going to be enjoying from house, however we’re still cheering Bob and Doug on

, you understand– go, Dragon!– and so people are still truly, truly excited about it.”Reporting by CBS News space specialist Costs Harwood.