Dragon-riding astronauts join exclusive inner circle at NASA

In this image provided by NASA, astronauts Robert Behnken, right, and Douglas Hurley, left, walk out of the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building on their way to to Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 mission, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Despite more storms in the forecast, SpaceX pressed ahead Saturday in its historic attempt to launch astronauts for NASA, a first by a private company. (Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)

By MARCIA DUNN

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have joined NASA’s exclusive inner circle by catching a ride on a SpaceX rocket. It’s only the fifth time that NASA has put people aboard a brand new line of spacecraft for liftoff. And it’s the first time when that spacecraft, a Dragon capsule flying on a Falcon rocket, belongs to a for-profit company in charge of the launch. The astronauts consider this a test pilot’s dream, made even sweeter by the return of human launches to Florida after nearly a decade. Their destination is the International Space Station.