NASA announced that it is prepared to proceed with the first crewed expedition of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. However, the agency noted that details about the mission could change depending on the status of the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
The upcoming launch is part of SpaceX's commercial partnership with NASA. Known as Crew Dragon Demo 2, the mission will serve as the first human flight to the ISS that will launch from the US. Since 2011, NASA has been working with Russia to send astronauts to the space station.
Preparing For Crew Dragon Demo 2's Launch
NASA has scheduled the launch of the Crew Dragon Demo 2 mission to take place on May 15 at its Kennedy Space Center in Florida. For the mission, Space X will launch its Dragon spacecraft using its Falcon 9 rocket. The Dragon will be carrying the astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.
In preparation for the event, NASA has opened the accreditation process for members of the media looking to cover the event. According to the agency, the accreditation deadline for members of international media is April 17, while the local press may submit their requests until April 24. All accreditation requests should be submitted through NASA's media website.
Possible Effect Of COVID-19 On Launch Event
Although it seems NASA is ready to proceed with the launch of the mission in May, the agency noted that the schedule of the event could still change depending on the country's current situation. Specifically, NASA stated that it is currently monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the country and the agency.
Depending on new guidelines that will be released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NASA may decide to restrict the access of the media to the event. It is also possible for the launch event to get postponed due to the outbreak.
"NASA is proactively monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation as it evolves," the agency explained in a statement. "The agency will continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the agency's chief health and medical officer and communicate any updates that may impact mission planning or media access, as they become available."