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NASA Astronauts Behnken, Hurley Will Take America Back to Space from US Soil

NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley, left, and Robert Behnken, wearing SpaceX spacesuits, depart the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building for Launch Complex 39A during a dress rehearsal prior to the Demo-2 mission launch, Saturday, May 23,…

The scheduled launch Wednesday of NASA astronauts into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida will be the first from U.S. soil with humans aboard a U.S.-made spacecraft in about a decade, and the first ever for a private company.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to attend the launch. If the launch is scrubbed because of weather, they’ll try again Saturday.
 
A SpaceX rocket will carry a Dragon capsule with astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station. Here’s a look at the pair of astronauts who will be carrying out the mission.
 
Colonel Robert Behnken  
 
Robert Behnken, 49, has been a NASA astronaut since 2000 and has previously been on two space shuttle flights.
In this photo provided by NASA astronaut Bob Behnken speaks at a news conference after he arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., May 20, 2020.
Born in the U.S. state of Missouri, Behnken earned a PhD in Mechanical Engineering before being commissioned into the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
 
Over the next several years, he logged 1,500 flight hours in more than 25 different types of aircraft, including serving as the Flight Test Engineer for the 4th F-22.  
He was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in 2000. Upon the completion of his training, he supported launch and landing activities at the Kennedy Space Center, in addition to serving as chief of the Space Station Operations Branch. From 2012-2015, Behnken served as NASA’s Chief Astronaut.  
 
His space flight experience includes the (Space Shuttle) STS-123 Endeavor in 2008, and the STS-130 Endeavor in 2010. Both missions focused on increasing the capabilities of the International Space Station through repairs and installment of new material. During the STS-130 mission, Behnke was appointed Mission Specialist, completed three spacewalks, and operated the station’s robotic arm. Overall, Behnken has logged more than 25 days in space.
 
Colonel Douglas G. Hurley
 
NASA astronaut Douglas G. Hurley, 53, is an engineer who has piloted two Space Shuttle missions.  
NASA astronaut Doug Hurley speaks at a news conference after he arrives at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday, May 20, 2020.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Civil Engineering degree from Tulane University and was immediately commissioned into the Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant.  
After considerable training, Hurley entered flight training in Texas in 1989. He later deployed to the Pacific on three occasions and was selected to attend the Naval Test Pilot School. Upon graduation, Hurley joined the “Strike” test squadron, including testing systems and flying qualities. He has logged 5,500 hours in more than 25 aircraft.
 
Hurley was serving as the operations officer when selected for the astronaut program in 2000. Twelve years into his NASA career, Hurley retired from the United States Marine Corps. His spaceflight experience includes the (Space Shutte) STS‐127 mission in 2009, which delivered the Experiment Logistics Module Exposed Section to the International Space Station.  
 
Hurley returned to space in 2011 in the Space Shuttle Atlantis to deliver supplies and logistics, as well as investigating future amendments to the station. He has logged upwards of 25 days in space. 

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