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NASA astronauts to travel to the launch pad in a Tesla Model X for SpaceX launches

NASA Tesla Model X
Posted at 9:50 AM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 09:50:02-04

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Forget the Astrovan. The converted Airstream trailer is so 20th Century.

NASA is entering the 21st century by letting its astronauts to travel in style when they head to the launch pad.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine unveiled one of the agency's official astronaut transport vehicles on Wednesday.

A white Tesla Model X decked out with NASA logos will take astronauts to Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A for future manned SpaceX launches.

Both Tesla and SpaceX are owned by billionaire Elon Musk.

The first time the Model X will transport astronauts will be for the Demo-2 mission, the first manned Crew Dragon mission. The spacecraft will take astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station.

The pair is scheduled to launch at 4:33 p.m. on May 27.

The mission is the first manned launch in the United States since the final Space Shuttle mission in July 2011. That was also the last time NASA's famous Astrovan carried astronauts to the launch pad.

NASA Astrovan

The Model X will soon be joined by the Astrovan II Minibus as an official astronaut transport vehicle.

Boeing will use the minibus to take astronants to Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 41 for launches of its Starliner spacecraft.

The first manned Starliner launch is planned for 2021.