NASA scheduled to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station

NASA and SpaceX will today launch a joint mission that will carry four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

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Photo: NASA

NASA and SpaceX will today launch a joint mission that will carry four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

The astronauts, including three from NASA and one from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), will launch from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. Today’s launch marks the first manned mission launched from US soil since the termination of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011.

The launch comes on the heels of US President-elect Joe Biden’s announcement of a NASA transition team that includes two former NASA chief scientists, a former astronaut and an environmental scientist, among others.

While the team has yet to announce official policies, Biden’s NASA agenda is expected to follow that of President Obama and build upon the Democratic Party platform by prioritising environmental research over new space exploration. President Trump’s current proposal for a manned moon mission in 2024 will probably be delayed, and his plan to end government funding of the ISS by 2025 is likely to be scrapped. Though this delay is a setback for contractors like Boeing and SpaceX who were competing for government contracts, expect the Biden agenda to continue to promote competition between traditional contractors and newer rivals.

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