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Red, White, Blue ... and You: Johnson Cheers on DM-2

Catherine Ragin Williams |
May 21, 2020

While NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley haven’t left the ground (yet), the excitement for #LaunchAmerica — the first flight into orbit of American astronauts on American rockets, and from American soil, has us seeing stars (and stripes).

We asked NASA Johnson Space Center team members to share their thoughts on this historic occasion, which we’re sharing here. With live video coverage and countdown commentary beginning at 10 a.m. CDT May 30, there will be plenty to see on NASA TV, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. You also can share your excitement for the launch on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #LaunchAmerica for a chance to be shared on NASA’s social media channels.

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight is targeted for liftoff at 2:22 p.m. May 30, and will send Behnken and Hurley to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Members of the public can attend the launch virtually, receiving mission updates and opportunities normally received by on-site guests.

Demo-2 will be SpaceX’s second spaceflight test of its Crew Dragon craft and its first test with astronauts aboard. This final test flight prior to NASA certification and will provide data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, the Crew Dragon and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking, and landing operations.

Share with the Artemis Generation

Celebrate this historic milestone with other members of the Artemis Generation! Students can share their excitement with webinars, virtual reality experiences and activities specifically designed for grades K-4 and grades 5-12. These and other exciting resources are available at:

NASA Television Coverage

NASA Television will air a number of events leading up to, including and following the historic launch. Continuous coverage of the mission on all NASA TV channels begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 30, and continue through Crew Dragon’s arrival at the International Space Station — including the subsequent hatch opening and welcoming ceremony.

The following events currently are scheduled to air live (all times Central). Please check the NASA TV schedule for the latest updates:

Saturday, May 30

10 a.m. – NASA TV launch coverage begins (continues through docking)

  • 2:22 p.m. – Liftoff

  • 3:09 p.m. – Crew Dragon phase burn 

  • 3:55 p.m. – Far-field manual flight test 

  • TBD p.m. – Astronaut downlink event from Crew Dragon

5:30 p.m. – Postlaunch news conference at Kennedy

  • Administrator Bridenstine

  • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program

  • SpaceX representative

  • Kirk Shireman, manager, International Space Station Program

  • NASA Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester

Sunday, May 31

  • TBD a.m. – Astronaut downlink event from Crew Dragon

  • 9:29 a.m. – Docking

  • 11:45 a.m. – Hatch Open

  • 12:05 p.m. – Welcome ceremony

  • 2:15 p.m. – Post-arrival news conference at Johnson

    • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine

    • Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer

    • NASA Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester

Monday, June 1

      • 10:15 a.m. – Space Station crew news conference, with NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley
      • 11:55 a.m. – SpaceX employee event and Class of 2020 Mosaic presentation, with NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley


      And now, without further ado, here's more on #LaunchAmerica from the Johnson family!


      “Space is part of what defines me. As a second grader – reading science club space pamphlets with paste-in pictures of astronauts and spacecraft from earlier Mercury and Gemini missions – Shepard, Glenn, the angry alligator. As a fourth grader in the summer of ’69, congregating in the living room with my family to watch one small step – then running to the window to look up to the Moon. My destiny was set; I was going to work in the space biz. Apollo-Soyuz fostered hope that maybe we could grow past the Cold War. On April 12, 1981, I was a junior in Engineering school, watching Columbia climb into the sky. Seven years later, I was there, working for Rockwell as part of the shuttle program. April 12 gained even more significance in 1994, as it was the day our first child was born – right across the street from JSC. Today, I anxiously await the launch of DM2, and Crew1 and all the other manned vehicles that will take us back to the Moon and, someday, lead to another small step … on Mars!”

      Bill Griffin/OD

      “I was at KSC in September 1988 to watch our return to space after Challenger, and I was there to see Atlantis as she launched on her final mission in July 2011. I wish I could be there in person for DM2 as we once again launch American astronauts from American soil. I will instead be watching virtually from Houston, proudly wearing my Launch America shirt. I also ordered Launch America shirts for my nieces Sara (12) and Julia (11), and their good friend Kayleigh (11), all of whom aspire to work for NASA one day. They live in Florida and will be looking skyward from Kayleigh’s home in Melbourne on launch day.

      To get ready for the big day, I reconfigured my Lego ISS to have the Commercial Crew vehicle docked to PMA2. 😊

      Jaclyn R. Gilbert/CK

      Image courtesy of Jaclyn Gilbert.

      “I am fortunate that I will be celebrating the SpaceX DM-2 mission by being on-console at the MCC during the launch, as well as the approach and docking phases of the mission.

      It’s going to be an exciting time being part of this historical event. My family will be watching on the internet the launch. I look forward to sharing the experience with family and students.”

      George Salazar/EV3

      “I have been celebrating the upcoming launch since a few days now by sharing NASA’s posts about it on my social media, especially my public Facebook page. I want to spread awareness about the launch, the spacecraft and what exactly is happening.

      On the big day, I plan to start a watch party on my page of the NASA Go-Live of the launch. I have done this for several NASA Go-Lives of spacewalks, the ASCAN graduation and anything that I find interesting. Several folks join my watch party, and it’s fun to watch the NASA Go-Live together. I will ‘advertise’ it a day ahead and let my friends, family and followers know they can ask me questions about the launch, about our upcoming Artemis missions or any NASA topic they have questions about. I am also planning on posting my pics from our sim lab, where I flew the sim for SpaceX Dragon capture and docking a couple of times. We used the Canadarm to capture the Dragon and dock it with the ISS. I do not have a Launch America T-shirt, but here’s a selfie in my cool blue NASA T-shirt. It’s my favorite, and I will be donning it on launch day.”

      Anima Sabale/ER6

      Images courtesy of Anima Sabale.

      “While we were looking forward to taking teachers along for the NASA Social experience, a silver lining in this situation is that we will all be rallying to #LaunchAmerica from our watch parties at home. I will be celebrating the launch of DM-2 with my pup and family, and cheering Bob, Doug, NASA and SpaceX on in my red, white and blue!”

      Jessica Sain/AD4

      Have thoughts and feelings about #Launch America that you're eager to share? Want to send us a pic of your socially distanced launch party, or sporting your red, white and blue or Launch America wear? Feel free to send it to Roundup (200 words or less, please, with your name and mail code).