The last time human beings launched from American soil into Earth orbit was on 8 July 2011 — 8 years, 10 months, and 20 days ago. It's been 3,247 days.
That is planned to change today, when a SpaceX Falcon 9 is scheduled to roar into orbit for the Demo-2 flight, a Crew Dragon atop the 70 meter-high stack, with two astronauts on board: Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.
The launch is scheduled for today at 20:33 UTC (4:33PM Eastern US time).
If all goes well they'll be at the International Space Station in about a day, whereupon the Dragon will dock automatically with ISS at the Harmony module, and Behnken and Hurley will begin work with the Expedition 63 crew already on board. They're scheduled to remain from about 1 to 4 months, returning to Earth for a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean no later than late September.
Artwork of the Crew Dragon on final approach to the International Space Station. Credit: SpaceX via Teslarati
Everything related to hardware and wetware (humans, that is) looks good; on 22 May the rocket performed a successful “static fire” test: A full-up test including fueling the rocket and a short propellant burn ...