The wonder of space flight and the courage of astronauts flying for the first time as part of NASA’s delayed collaboration with the launch of the private crew could offer a moment of diversion. A return to American manned space flight after nine years will also lighten the United States when it relies on Russia to transport crew members to the International Space Station.
While NASA’s ultimate goal is a trip to Mars, the U.S. program in the coming years – travel to and from the space station and then the moon – will not be a big step forward for humanity. Steady progress only underlines the wonder for men who left Earth on a much more shaky boat half a century ago.
Given Covid’s emergency, NASA has asked the crowd not to gather in Florida to watch Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley explode. This does not prevent President Donald Trump from making plans to fly over there in any case to bask in reflected patriotic glory – even if unfavorable weather forecasts could delay Wednesday’s launch.
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