Home Launch Test Pilots

In this Jan. 17, 2020 photo made available by SpaceX, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken, left, and Doug Hurley, wearing SpaceX spacesuits, walk through the Crew Access Arm connecting the launch tower to the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft during a dress rehearsal at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. For their May 27, 2020 mission, Hurley will be in charge of launch and landing and Behnken will oversee rendezvous and docking at the International Space Station. (SpaceX via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The two astronauts who will test drive SpaceX's brand new rocketship and return human orbital launches to the U.S. are classmates and friends.

They're also veteran spacefliers married to veteran spacefliers, and fathers of young sons. Retired Marine Col. Doug Hurley will be in charge of launch and landing, a fitting assignment for the pilot of NASA's last space shuttle mission.

Air Force Col. Bob Behnken will oversee rendezvous at the International Space Station. They'll end a nine-year launch drought for NASA when they blast off aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Florida.

Liftoff is set for next Wednesday.

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