US dusts off rockets for first space mission in 9 years

By Helene Fung

American space agency NASA and Elon Musks’ SpaceX are planning to send two American astronauts to space on a SpaceX rocket launching from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre on the 27th of May.

This will be SpaceX’s first human-carrying mission, and NASA’s first since its last space shuttle flight was back in 2011. If the mission is successful, SpaceX would also become the first private company to launch people into space.

Boeing is also working to launch astronauts under NASA’s commercial crew program; but it was back to the drawing board after a failed test flight which went up to the wrong orbit due to software errors back in December 2019.

The coronavirus pandemic is also likely to be a setback for NASA’s moon landing plans. Production and testing of NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion crew capsule have been halted due to the crisis, and the goal for another moon landing by 2024 set by US President Donald Trump may slip.

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