NASA and SpaceX targeting mid-to-late May for first astronaut launch, despite coronavirus pandemic

NASA and SpaceX issued a media accreditation invitation on Wednesday for their Demonstration Mission 2 (aka Demo-2) commercial crew launch – the first in the commercial crew program that will carry actual astronauts to space. The invite includes the current proposed timeframe for the mission, listed as no “no earlier than mid-to-late May.”
Reports from earlier in the year had pegged the launch window for May, with the possibility that SpaceX and NASA could move that to as early as April, or as late as June, depending on the preparedness of the spacecraft and crew. SpaceX was reportedly early on readying the Crew Dragon spacecraft that would be flying the mission, but NASA also changed the mission parameters to include a longer stay at the International Space Station for the crew going up on the demo mission, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.
This will be the first time ever that astronauts fly aboard a SpaceX spacecraft, and the first crewed mission for the commercial crew program, through which NASA is working with private company launch operators to return human spaceflight capabilities to American soil. All current astronaut transportation to and from the International Space Station is accomplished through a partnership with Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, which flies crews using its Soyuz spacecraft.
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