US President Donald Trump will attend launch of two astronauts aboard a SpaceX mission on May 27 — the first crewed space flight from US soil in nine years, according to the White House on Saturday.
Ahead of visit, Trump said in a statement, “Our destiny, beyond the Earth, is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security”.
US astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are scheduled to blast off from Kennedy’s historic Launch Pad 39A at 4:33 pm (2033 GMT) on Wednesday for the International Space Station, arriving the next day.
The mission is seen as a crucial step towards ending American dependence on Russian rockets.
On being asked about going ahead with the mission in the midst of the pandemic, Behnken told media “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Behnken and Hurley have been in strict quarantine since May 13, but they said their actual isolation began as far back as mid-March.
The United States has been the global epicenter for weeks, confirming more than 1.6 million cases, and the number of deaths nearing 100,000.
New York now allows gatherings of up to 10 people for non-essential purposes, two months after a statewide order banned such gatherings of any size to curb spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, coronavirus worldwide cases have crossed 5.4 million mark taking tally to 5,401,612 including 3,43,804 deaths while 2,247,151 have recovered, according to Worldometer figures.