The New Space Race | Spectrum News

American spaceflight is entering a new era, with two NASA astronauts — Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken — scheduled to lift off from the U.S. for the first time in almost a decade. The launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon will also usher in the next phase of the space race: private companies ferrying NASA astronauts. Spectrum News has everything you need to know about the historic flight, from the development of the Crew Dragon capsule to a nationwide LIVE broadcast of the launch itself from Kennedy Space Center.

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The New Space Race



  • Date: Wednesday, May 27
  • Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9
  • Mission: Crew Dragon flight test to ISS, with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley aboard
  • Launch Site: Space Launch Complex 39A, Kennedy Space Center
  • Launch Window: 4:33 p.m. ET
(Man and child watching Delta IV rocket launch)

From Port Canaveral to the Indian River Lagoon to the beaches, there are many easy-to-access sites along the Space Coast to watch Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral rocket launches. Florida's Space Coast has a great list of more than a dozen rocket launch viewing sites, with descriptions and maps. Check it out here!


  • Date: TBA
  • Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9
  • Mission: Another batch of Starlink satellites
  • Launch Site: Cape Canveral Air Force Station
  • Launch Window: TBA
  • Date: TBA; originally scheduled for end of March but was postponed due to pandemic concerns
  • Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9
  • Mission: SAOCOM 1B, an Argentine satellite
  • Launch Site: Space Launch Complex 40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
  • Launch Window: TBD
  • Date: July 17, 2020
  • Vehicle: ULA Atlas V
  • Mission: Launch of NASA's Mars 2020 rover, expected to land on Red Planet in February 2021
  • Launch Site: Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
  • Launch Window: TBD
  • Date: TBD
  • Vehicle: ULA Altas V
  • Mission: Boeing Starliner crew capsule flight test to ISS (with 2 crew members aboard)
  • Launch Site: Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
  • Launch Window: TBA
  • Date: TBD
  • Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
  • Mission: U.S. Air Force GPS 3 SV03 navigation satellite
  • Launch Site: TBD
  • Launch Window: TBD
  • Date: December 2020
  • Vehicle: ULA Altas V
  • Mission: NASA GOES-T Weather Satellite
  • Launch Site: Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
  • Launch Window: TBA

(Sources: SpaceX, NASA, United Launch Alliance, 45th Space Wing, Boeing, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Lockheed Martin)

Space shuttle Atlantis retired to Kennedy Space Center

ATLANTIS: Kennedy Space Center

  • Space shuttle Atlantis launched on its last mission at 11:29 a.m. July 8, 2011.
  • The shuttle program ended with the landing of Atlantis on Thursday, July 21 at 5:57 a.m.
  • Atlantis was NASA's fourth space shuttle orbiter to join the fleet.
Retired space shuttle Endeavour arrives at its new home in California

ENDEAVOUR: California Science Center, Los Angeles

  • Space shuttle Endeavour launched on its final mission Monday, May 16, 2011.
  • After a journey of 6.5 million miles, the orbiter landed for the final time at Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, June 1, 2011.
Retired space shuttle Discovery

DISCOVERY: Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum

  • Discovery was NASA's reliable workhorse, spending more than a quarter century carrying crews, satellites and space station parts.
  • In 1990, Discovery carried the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit.
  • Final flight: Feb. 24, 2011.
Prototype space shuttle Enterprise arrives in New York City for its retirement

ENTERPRISE: Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, New York City

  • Enterprise was a prototype shuttle, rolling out of a California assembly facility on Sept. 17, 1976. After its success, Columbia became the 1st shuttle in space.
  • It was originally to be named Constitution, but a write-in campaign by fans of the TV show Star Trek got it renamed.

SOURCES: Information and images on this page are from NASA, United Launch Alliance and SpaceX.