Praising the public-private co-op leading to innovation to revitalize the U.S. and NASA's space program, President Donald Trump wished well the astronauts before weather scrubbed the mission Wednesday at Cape Canaveral.
"Good luck, God be with you," Trump told reporters, his last-minute message to the Crew Dragon astronauts of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Or it was to be the last-minute message, before the launch was scrubbed. It has been moved to Saturday.
"It's a dangerous business, but they are the best there is. We want them to be safe."
It will be the first time a private company, rather than a national government, sends astronauts into orbit. NASA test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken would take the historic flight from the same pad where Atlantis closed out the shuttle program in 2011, the last home launch for NASA astronauts.
"What they have done is incredible, in a short period of time," Trump said about 30 minutes before the launch was postponed to Saturday. "We came here 3½ years agom, and it was almost a ghost town. Now it's the number-one place in the world for what we're doing."
Trump has vowed to get Americans back to the moon by 2024 and this flight is a step in that process. Trump has also prioritized space flight for U.S. government and military initiatives.
"It's very important militarily, too," Trump said. "We have the space force and from a military offensive and defensive standpoint, we are learning a lot. We have the most powerful rockets now, by far. We have the best of the world.
"The most brilliant people in the world, and they're all right here. It is an honor to be associated."
Hurley was one of the four astronauts who arrived at Kennedy on July 4, 2011, for the final space shuttle flight, the last time Americans, "so it's incredibly humbling to be here to start out the next launch from the United States."
"We feel it as an opportunity but also a responsibility for the American people, for the SpaceX team, for all of NASA," Behnken added.
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