Mar 28, 2022 - News

Kennedy Space Center launches will highlight future of space travel

People watch a rocket lauch

People watch as the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from launch pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Both launch pads at the Kennedy Space Center will be in action in early April as rocket launches herald two new eras in space travel.

Driving the news: Two important launches at Cape Canaveral will have Tampa Bay's space enthusiasts and rocket watchers looking east, per the Orlando Sentinel.

  • At Launch Pad 39-B sometime between April 1-3, NASA will simulate a countdown β€” including fueling and de-fueling of the Space Launch System rocket topped with the Orion capsule β€” as part of a dress rehearsal for Artemis I, a moon launch planned for later this year.
  • The other, Launch Pad 39-A, will send up two SpaceX Crew Dragon capsules. One will contain four "space participants" and a former astronaut who will hitch a ride on a Falcon 9 rocket no earlier than April 3. The other will be a NASA crew leaving no earlier than April 19.

Why it matters: Artemis I will be the first integrated flight test of NASA's Deep Space Exploration Systems, and, NASA says, foundational to the space economy, fueling new industries, technologies and jobs.

The other flight marks the first all-civilian crew making a trip to the International Space Station β€” and three of them paid $55 million each to blast off from Florida. They are:

  • Larry Connor, a Dayton, Ohio-area philanthropist, pilot and adventurer; Mark Pathy, a Canadian businessman; and Eytan Stibbe, an Israeli businessman who is a former fighter jet pilot.

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