The stakes have never been higher for Elon Musk’s SpaceX. On Wednesday, the company will attempt to launch two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station in a mission called Demo-2.
It will mark the first time in history that a commercial aerospace company has carried humans into Earth’s orbit. NASA and space fans have waited nearly a decade for this milestone, which will usher in the return of human spaceflight to US soil.
The launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is moving forward despite the Covid-19 pandemic, which has shuttered both private and government operations across the US. NASA says it must carry on with the mission in order to keep the International Space Station, a giant orbiting laboratory, fully staffed with US astronauts.
The space agency’s top official, Jim Bridenstine, also said he hopes this launch will inspire awe and uplift the general public during the ongoing health crisis.