Behnken and Hurley arrive at the pad and emerge from the Tesla’s gull-wing doors in matching white SpaceX flight suits. After stopping to make a last phone call to their families using a phone in the launchpad tower—a NASA preflight tradition—they climb into the Dragon.
Now strapped in, Behnken and Hurley are spending nearly two hours checking out the capsule’s system. Abort system armed? Check. No leaks in the spacesuits? Check. Communication with mission control? Check. Once the initial system check is complete, a small SpaceX pad crew dressed head to toe in black seals the hatch on the capsule and verifies that the pressure holds.
A few miles from the pad, Air Force One touches down on the old shuttle landing strip, carrying President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. Trump’s administration has made human spaceflight a cornerstone of its extraterrestrial policies. Shortly after taking