CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - It's been almost four months since Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken blasted off for the first manned flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule. But, that was just a test run.
There's just about a month until liftoff, soaring into a new universe of launches with the first operational manned mission for the SpaceX Crew Dragon.
"This is the one that we’ve all kind of been working to, right?"
Daniel Forrestel should know. He works for NASA as a launch rescue director and launch integration manager for the Commercial Crew Program, meaning "make sure that everything on the day of launch is set up and run as it's supposed to," Forrestel said.
Forrestel oversees the astronauts suiting up, waving goodbye and heading to the launchpad. Then, his role becomes even more critical as he manages the Emergency Operations Center at the Kennedy Space Center.
"We’re there in case there’s a bad day. If something bad happens on the pad with the rocket, we are there to help treat any injuries," he said.
Four astronauts are set to head to the International Space Station for six months, making this SpaceX mission, a commercial mission, historic.
"It’s just a whole new chapter to NASA," Forrestel said.
This launch is historic and significant for the future of space exploration, but it also means a lot for Florida, the Space Coast, tourism and the economy.
"Apart from all the achievements, it’s just great economic development and we’re really going to need that," said Dale Ketcham, a vice president for Space Florida
He says nothing brings people to Florida like a launch.
"Any launch is a great launch and draws a lot of tourists, but when you put people on the top of the rocket, that really gets people excited," Ketcham said.
Forrestel understands that excitement. That's why he and his team are doing simulations and preparations daily because even though the test launch this summer went off without a hitch, "We proved for Demo 2 that it can work, but space flight is never easy. So it’s never letting your guard down. We can’t rest on the fact that we’ve done it once," Forrestel said.
The launch is set for sometime after Oct. 23.