A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon astronaut capsule, lifts off on an in-flight abort test from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral
(Photo : REUTERS/Joe Skipper) A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon astronaut capsule, lifts off on an in-flight abort test , a key milestone before flying humans in 2020 under NASA's commercial crew program, from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. January 19, 2020.

The United States will launch a rocket into space on May 27 from American soil for the first time since 2011, NASA has announced.

The launch will transport astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, according to the space agency. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the capsule into the International Space Station (ISS).

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon astronaut capsule, lifts off on an in-flight abort test from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral
(Photo : REUTERS/Joe Skipper)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon astronaut capsule, lifts off on an in-flight abort test , a key milestone before flying humans in 2020 under NASA's commercial crew program, from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. January 19, 2020.

On a tweet on Friday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the launch of the American mission.

The launch will happen from the Kennedy Space Center historic pad 39A where the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs were previously launched.


NASA will launch in May from American soil after 9 years 

The last space shuttle mission launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center was STS-135 on July 8, 2011, which ended the 30-year history of space shuttle flight.

The space shuttle Atlantis carried four NASA astronauts on a mission to deliver supply and parts to the ISS, as well as an experiment for robotically refueling satellites in space.

Two days after the launch, Atlantis reached the station with a ceremonial ringing of the station's bell, welcoming the visitor for the last time.

The US has since then relied on Russian Soyuz rockets to get astronauts into space. The US pays about $75 million to Russia to send an astronaut into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. However, the total cost amounts to nearly $400 million including the required water, oxygen, food, and equipment an astronaut needs.

A coronavirus surprise?

Right when the world struggles from the coronavirus crisis, NASA announced the date for its exploration.

However, it did not come as a surprise as Vice President Mike Pence spoke about it on Feb. 19 at Langley Research Center in Virginia. Also the chairman of the National Space Council, Pence promised NASA astronauts will launch again into space from US soil after nearly a decade.

"With the strong support of all of you, the United States will return American astronauts to space on American rockets from American soil," he said.

Pence also discussed the plan for Americans to set foot again on the moon through NASA's Artemis program. This aims to build a viable human presence on Earth's natural satellite and bring American astronauts on the moon by 2024.

After Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11 set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, only 10 Americans have reached the lunar surface. Apollo 17 Mission Commander Gene Cernan was the last astronaut to set foot on the moon on Dec. 14, 1972.

"Together, we're going to ensure that the first woman and the next man on the moon will be American astronauts," he said. "We're going to establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars - we're going moon to Mars."

NASA taps the support from private space companies such as SpaceX and United Launch Alliance to fund America's future space exploration through its Commercial Crew Program.

Currently, there are only three astronauts in the International Space Station. These are NASA astronaut Christopher J. Cassidy and Russians Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner who were on-board the Russian anti-satellite missile, which launched on Wednesday, April 15.

Read also: From Living in Space, Astronauts Come Home Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

ⓒ 2021 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.