Two SpaceX Commanders Will Receive The Honorary Space Medal of the US Congress


In short: SpaceX astronauts Doug Hurley and Robert Behnken will receive the Congressional Space Medal of Honor on Tuesday. Both are former NASA astronauts who flew space shuttles before completing the program. The awardees continued their work at SpaceX.

The Congressional Space Medal of Honor is a civilian award, not to be confused with the Medal of Honor for military personnel. It was introduced in 1969 and awarded to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin for being the first people to set foot on the moon.

Traditionally, the medal is awarded to those who were the first in space exploration. Congress also awarded him posthumously to the crews of the Challenger and Columbia spacecraft. It was last awarded in 2006, when Robert L. Crippen piloted the first shuttle flight.

Thus, for the first time in 17 years, the White House will honor Hurley and Behnken as the first commercial space crew to arrive at the International Space Station, which will put an end to American astronauts forced to hitchhike on Russian ships. Their important mission was SpaceX Demo-2. It was originally scheduled for May 27, 2020, but the weather postponed it until May 30, 2020.

Demonstration-2 took them to the ISS aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft. The couple joined the crew of the 63rd ISS expedition and stayed on board the station for about two months, conducting various scientific experiments. They also installed “a new European Mark 2 drawer rack in the Columbus module of the space station.”

Interestingly, the Demo-2 mission was a direct result of NASA’s commercial crew program. In 2014, SpaceX and Boeing received a joint multibillion-dollar grant from the space agency.

As we have seen, the development and deployment of SpaceX manned spacecraft was much faster and more efficient than the Boeing Starliner spacecraft, which has not yet left the earth. After the landmark flight of Hurley and Behnken, SpaceX delivered five more crews to the ISS, including astronauts from Europe and Russia.

Although the Honorary Space Medal is a civilian award, it can be worn as a military award when appropriate. Since Hurley is a retired Marine colonel and Behnken is a former Air Force colonel, they can add a badge to the lapels of their uniforms.

Today, Vice President Kamala Harris will present medals at the White House.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here