NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 Astronauts to Get Medal of Honor from White House

Doug and bob at pad

NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley (left) and Robert Behnken (right); Image: NASA

Back on May 30, 2020, SpaceX made history when its Falcon 9 rocket sent the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station—with two NASA astronauts on board.

Fast forward nearly three years later, the White House has now acknowledged the feat, which sent former NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken to the Space Station, the first time humans have been on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to the latter, as part of the NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

On Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris will award Hurley and Behnken the Congressional Space Medal of Honor at 4:15 p.m. EST. The award is for bravery in NASA’s SpaceX Demonstration Mission-2 (Demo-2) to the International Space Station in 2020, said NASA on Monday.

“Demo-2 served as an end-to-end flight test of SpaceX’s crew transportation system, providing valuable data toward NASA certifying the system for regular, crewed missions to the orbiting laboratory under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program,” explained NASA in a statement.

The Congressional Space Medal of Honor ceremony will be available to view live on NASA Television and its website, the NASA app, and on its Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube channels.

Both Hurley and Behnken remained on the Space Station for just over two months before safely returning back to Earth. Since then, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has flown five other human crews to the Space Station.

You can watch a Netflix documentary Return to Space (2022) that followed SpaceX, NASA and Hurley and Behnken back to the Space Station aboard Crew Dragon.