Trump will attend the historic NASA and SpaceX astronaut launch in Florida next week

REUTERS/Leah MillisU.S. President Donald Trump makes a statement to reporters about reopening U.S. places of worship by declaring them ‘essential’ in the midst of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 22, 2020.
  • President Donald Trump said he will attend the historic NASA and SpaceX launch at Kennedy Space Centre next week, local outlet WESH2 reported.
  • This would be the first time NASA has sent astronauts into space in a spacecraft built by a private company.
  • It’s been nearly a decade since Americans were launched into outer space on US soil. They have been relying on Russian craft to get to the International Space Station.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump said he will travel to the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida to attend the historic NASA and SpaceX launch next week, local outlet WESH-TV reported.

“Our destiny, beyond the Earth, is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security,” Trump said, according to the outlet.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are slated to launch inside SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon spaceship atop a Falcon 9 rocket on May 27.

This would be the first time that SpaceX, which was founded by Elon Musk in 2002, is launching astronauts into space – and the first time in nearly a decade that Americans will be flown to space on US soil. It’d also the first time NASA is sending astronauts into orbit aboard a spacecraft built by a private company.

According to Politico, Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida urged Trump to attend. Waltz said Trump was “fired up” after a discussion they had on “the importance of the event to the evolution of the US space program,” Politico reported.

“With everything going on, the relaunch of America, the relaunch of our economy, the relaunch of Florida, the symbolism I think is really exciting,” Waltz, who plans to fly aboard Air Force One from Washington with Trump for the event said, according to Politico.

The astronauts will live on the space station for about three months, then return to Earth in a space capsule, and finally parachute into the Atlantic Ocean, Business Insider reported.

On Thursday during an impromptu meeting with the press, Trump also joked about sending reporters into space, The Hill reported.

“I’m thinking about going, that will be next week, to the rocket launch,” Trump said when asked about the launch at a press conference on Thursday. “I hope you’re all going to join me. I’d like to put you in the rocket and get rid of you for a while.”

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