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Historic launch of manned US missile planned for tonight

Douglas Hurley and Bob Behnken are the first people to orbit the Earth by a commercial company. They were due to leave last Wednesday, but then bad weather around the Cape Canaveral space base in Florida threw a spanner in the works.

Expectations are not very promising for tonight either. Rain and thunder are expected.

The launch is scheduled for 9:22 PM Dutch time. If all goes well, Hurley and Behnken will arrive at the international space station ISS tomorrow, their home for the coming months. If the launch is canceled tonight, there is another chance tomorrow.

Hurley and Behnken are on the Crew Dragon during their flight to the ISS, a vessel developed by the space company SpaceX. That company has conducted unmanned supply flights to the ISS in recent years and is now the first to be allowed to bring people into space.

Hurley and Behnken’s flight is also the first manned US space flight since July 2011. Since then, the United States has depended on arch-rival Russia to bring people back to the ISS and back.

The flight of the Crew Dragon is very important for the United States, according to America correspondent Erik Mouthaan. “The past few years have been a period of loss of face.”

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