CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – President Donald Trump will visit the Space Coast next week to witness the historic launch of NASA astronauts from Kennedy Space Center, according to White House officials.
Trump Administration officials confirmed on Friday that the President will be in attendance when NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley lift off aboard a Falcon 9 rocket Wednesday, marking the first launch of American astronauts from U.S. soil since the shuttle program ended in 2011.
Behnken and Hurley will blast off from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A -- the same historic pad used by Apollo astronauts who launched to the moon -- in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. The launch will also mark the first time a commercial company will send humans into orbit.
The president, who has directed the Department of Defense to establish the U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces, has said it is his goal to reassert American dominance in space, according to the White House.
“Our destiny, beyond the Earth, is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security," Trump said.
Details surrounding the president’s visit have not been released.
The astronauts are scheduled to launch to the International Space Station at 4:33 p.m. next Wednesday. The rocket was already vertical on the launch pad as of Thursday.
On Friday, the SpaceX rocket passed its final review before the big day, completing a flight readiness review and a static test fire of the Falcon 9.
SpaceX and NASA will conduct a dry dress rehearsal of the launch on Saturday when the astronauts will take the elevator up to the spacecraft on the launchpad and proceed through the countdown as they will on launch day.