U.S. Vice President Mike Pence held a meeting of the National Space Council on Tuesday, just over a week before the program is set to launch astronauts into space from American soil.
The meeting was held virtually, with Pence in Washington, and NASA administrators and astronauts checking in remotely. The vice president noted that the project stayed on schedule, even amid the coronavirus pandemic. He said the May 27 launch will be an inspiration to the country.
NASA astronauts are set to blast into orbit on a private company’s rocket, a first since the end of the space shuttle era in 2011. It will also be the first time anywhere a private company, SpaceX, will have built and funded the rocket.
NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission will launch from the Kennedy Space Center in the southeastern U.S. state of Florida. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will launch NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley into space in the final test flight of the system before SpaceX is certified to carry out operational crew flights to and from the International Space Station for the U.S. space agency.