KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – Astronaut families are heroes, too. SpaceX is responsible for making sure the brave men and women who ride the company’s Falcon 9 rocket into space also make it home to their equally heroic families.
NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese Space Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi have trained at SpaceX’s headquarters in California, spending the past months preparing for their launch in the Dragon spacecraft called Resilience.
[Live updates: SpaceX prepares to launch 4 astronauts from Florida| WATCH LIVE: Pick your launch view]
After completing suit checkouts, the four astronauts spoke briefly to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell from a distance. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was not in attendance as he is waiting on COVID-19 test results. As the astronauts made their way outside the O&C building the national anthem was performed by country music artist Travis Tritt.
Victor Glover could be seen giving his four kids and wife a distant hug and Japanese Space Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi made some funny faces taking a selfie with his family.
The crew then walked outside to wave farewell to some press and their families. This is the last time the astronauts will see their families in person for six months.
Away they go! 🚗— Johnson Space Center (@NASA_Johnson) November 15, 2020
Right on schedule, NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 crew is driving out to the launch pad. pic.twitter.com/R1g9SCrI13
SpaceX is preparing to launch the four astronauts on the Crew-1 mission from Launchpad 39A in the Crew Dragon spacecraft on their journey to the International Space Station. Liftoff is on track for 7:27 p.m.
While astronauts have plenty of communication with their families while living and working on the International Space Station, Hopkins, Glover, Walker and Soichi won’t physically be able to hug their loved ones for about six months. They will also be in low-Earth orbit for some of the biggest holidays of the year.
After donning their sleek black-and-white spacesuits, the astronauts walked outside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building, better known as the O&C building, at KSC where a small socially-distance crowd was waiting to cheer them on and wave goodbye.
After a brief goodbye, the astronauts got into Teslas and began their 20-minute ride to the Falcon 9 rocket at Launch Complex 39A.