Houston astronauts arrive in Florida ahead of SpaceX launch

Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Houston astronauts head to Florida ahead of historic launch
READY, SET, LAUNCH! ABC13's TJ Parker explains how Houston is once again at the center of space history!

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston is again at the center of space history. Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be the first Americans on board the first commercially built and operated American rocket ship to head to the International Space Station with SpaceX.

"It's really an honor to be a part of this program," said Hurley, speaking to the National Space Council on Tuesday.

Hurley and Behnken were in quarantine at the Johnson Space Center before jetting off to Florida. The two left from Ellington Field on Wednesday to Cape Canaveral, where the launch takes place the following week from the Kennedy Space Center.

"It's definitely a historic time," said Hurley's wife, Karen Nyberg.

Their Clear Lake neighborhood is cheering them on with signs that line their street.

"There's excitement building. People around the country are looking forward to this mission. We have signs in our neighbors' yard, 'Go Bob', 'Go Dragon.' People are starting to get excited again which is neat. In Houston, people are really proud of our part in the space program," said Megan McArthur, Behnken's wife.

Space Center Houston has gotten a lot of interest from people wanting to watch the launch.

"This is a historic moment that all the public can be a part of," said William Harris, president and CEO of Space Center Houston.

They're sharing creative ways on their website to be involved.

Harris says there are "ways that you can dress, dress up your kids, all kinds of space food things that you can prepare."

Hurley and Behnken are Houston heroes, making space history for the Space City.

"When the day comes when we watch the guys walking out to the launchpad, then it will hit home in that way," said Nyberg.

SEE ALSO: NASA/SpaceX mission takes giant step forward ahead of historic launch

For the first time in decades, Americans will launch into space on an American built rocket from American soil. Here's how astronauts from Houston are playing a major role in that.

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