As NASA astronauts enter pre-launch quarantine, FHP prepares for launch traffic

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – For two months, the world has familiarized itself with going into a quarantine on Wednesday, it was the astronauts’ turn.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley entered standard isolation two weeks out from NASA and SpaceX planning to return crewed spaceflight to Kennedy Space Center.

Before the historic launch May 27, two rockets are scheduled to liftoff on the Space Coast this weekend. With just a 20-hour turnaround, space enthusiasts are hoping for twice the thrill.

Lt. Channing Taylor with Florida Highway Patrol explained how troopers will be handling the anticipated crowds ahead of the Crew Dragon Demo-2 launch on May 27.

The state trooper worked the last local rocket launch with astronauts, Space Shuttle Atlantis’ final liftoff on July 8, 2011.

However, this astronaut launch during the coronavirus pandemic makes gathering to watch, complicated.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine has advised people to watch from home, but the Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey has said visitors are welcome while suggesting they keep separated in crowds.

“Our stance is to make sure that the traffic remains moving safely to react to any emergencies that occur,” Taylor said.

The state trooper said drivers will not be allowed to pull over on I-95 and people will also be prevented from parking in medians like on the Beachline (State Road 528) causeways.

Anas Hanafi, a fisherman from Orange County is familiar with watching launches from SR 528.

He said he supports watching the launch in person.

“Some people want to do it, some people don’t. I think if people use their logic, everything will be OK,” Hanafi said.

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