SpaceX and NASA aim for historic launch

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1:49 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Meet astronaut Robert Behnken

From CNN Business' Jackie Wattles

Robert "Bob" Behnken, 49, and his crewmate, Douglas Hurley, were both military test pilots before they joined NASA in 2000. The space agency has a long history of selecting test pilots, who spend hundreds of hours flying around in experimental supersonic aircraft, to be astronauts.

It's probably a dream of every test pilot school student to have the opportunity to fly on a brand new spaceship.

Hometown: St. Ann, Missouri.

Role in this mission: Joint operations commander. He will be responsible for some of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft's major milestones, including docking with the International Space Station and undocking.

Total hours previously logged in space: 708

Last spaceflight: STS-130 in February 2010

1:48 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Meet astronaut Douglas Hurley

From CNN Business' Jackie Wattles

One half of the duo that will pilot this historic spaceflight is Douglas "Doug" Hurley, 53. Both Hurley and his crewmate, Robert Behnken, were selected to be NASA astronauts in 2000 and are veterans of Space Shuttle missions. They're also longtime friends who attended each others' weddings.

It has been such a long road, and it's kind of been a personal journey...to transition from the Space Shuttle era to this next era of spaceflight.

Hometown: Apalachin, New York

Role in this mission: Spacecraft commander. He's responsible for keeping things on track during launch and for landing and recovery when the astronauts return from space.

Total hours previously logged in space: 680

Last spaceflight: Hurley piloted the final space shuttle mission, STS-135, in July 2011.

1:48 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Astronauts drive to the launch pad in Teslas

From CNN Business' Jackie Wattles

Reporters lined the street as astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley passed by on the Saturn Causeway — the road that will take them to the launch pad.

Behnken and Hurley are now preparing to board SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, where they'll sit for the next three hours as NASA and SpaceX prepare for liftoff.

If the weather looks ok in the hours ahead, liftoff is slated to occur at 4:33 pm ET.

Officials said at about 1:45 pm ET that the odds of favorable weather stand at about 50-50.

3:47 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

NASA astronauts give 'air hugs' to family before heading to launch pad

From CNN Business' Jackie Wattles

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Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley left their quarantine area around 1:15 pm ET on Wednesday.

Vice President Mike Pence, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will see the astronauts off — along with the astronauts' families. Behnken and Hurley are both married to fellow NASA astronauts and have small children.

To say farewell, the men, suited up in the SpaceX spacesuits, offered air hugs to their kids.

3:48 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

A mission of 'firsts'

From CNN Business' Jackie Wattles

This mission will mark a triple crown of historic landmarks:

  • The first-ever manned launch for SpaceX in the company's 18-year history.
  • The first time ever that a privately developed spacecraft will launch humans into Earth's orbit.
  • The first time astronauts launch to the International Space Station from US soil since NASA's Space Shuttle Program retired in 2011.

WATCH:

1:41 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Kelly Clarkson sings the national anthem (via livestream)

From CNN Business' Jackie Wattles

Singer Kelly Clarkson briefly joined NASA's livestream — remotely, of course — to sing the national anthem.

The NASA astronauts are expected to begin making their way to the launch pad shortly. Their mode of transportation? Two Tesla Model X's emblazoned with NASA logos.

Vice President Mike Pence, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will see the astronauts off.

12:43 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

NASA's 'worm logo' is back for this mission

From CNN Business' Jackie Wattles

NASA's most famous symbol is the "meatball" — a round, blue emblem studded with stars, which has been with the agency since 1959. But in the 1970s, NASA introduced the "cleaner, sleeker" worm logo.

After ditching the worm in 1992, NASA announced in April it would bring the retro logo back for this mission. It's emblazoned in several noticeable places — including on the astronauts' spacesuits and on the side of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which will lift the Crew Dragon spacecraft into orbit.

12:12 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

How reporters are covering this launch

From CNN Business' Jackie Wattles

In Brevard County, Florida — home to Kennedy Space Center — police officers and military security personnel have put up roadblocks around the launch site. Reporters have to show a bright orange badge and matching ID to get into NASA facilities.

A string of buildings owned by various news outlets, known as "bunkers," sit beneath NASA's giant Vehicle Assembly Building. And reporters are trying their best to spread out, wipe down desks, wear masks and keep their distance. Hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes are being passed around. Luckily, KSC is huge, so there's plenty of room to spread out. And NASA did not allow any visitors on site for this launch.

CNN Business is sharing a bunker with local news reporters at the Orlando Sentinel. This building is like a time capsule from the Space Shuttle era: The walls are decorated with pictures of the giant winged spacecraft vertical on the launch pad.

Also on the walls: Images of how the front pages of the Sentinel looked the morning after the Columbia and Challenger disasters, a reminder of why NASA takes risks so seriously and the events that hastened the end of the Shuttle's 135-flight run.

11:53 a.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Breakfast of astronauts: Steak and eggs

From CNN Business' Jackie Wattles

Reporters were clamoring to find out what astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley would scarf down before liftoff. On Tuesday, NASA said the astronauts would be able to order whatever they felt like this morning.

Hurley shared the tidbit everyone wanted to know: He enjoyed some steak and eggs.

Behnken hasn't shared any updates on his meal quite yet. But, reporters are on the case.