Vice President Kamala Harris Honors Demo-2 Astronauts with Congressional Space Medal of Honor


On Tuesday, Jan. 31 Vice President Kamala Harris awarded former NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. Hurley and Behnken received the award for bravery in NASA’s SpaceX Demonstration Mission-2 (Demo-2) to the International Space Station in 2020.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program began a new era of human spaceflight as American astronauts launched from American soil on an American rocket to the International Space Station. Behnken and Hurley flew on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, which lifted off on a Falcon 9 rocket on May 30, 2020, from Launch Complex 39A in Florida. This mission was the final flight test for SpaceX, validating the company’s crew transportation system, including the launch pad, rocket, spacecraft, and operational capabilities.

Once in orbit, Behnken and Hurley were welcomed aboard the ISS, and became members of the Expedition 63 crew. They performed tests on Crew Dragon in addition to conducting research and other tasks with the space station crew. Upon conclusion of the mission, the Crew Dragon autonomously undocked, re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and splashed down just off Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Demo-2 was the final step before NASA’s Commercial Crew Program certified Crew Dragon for operational, long-duration missions to the space station, enabling NASA to continue important research and technology investigations onboard the station.

To learn more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program visit:

Watch the full medal ceremony:

Credit: NASA

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