The launch will take place on Wednesday at the John F. Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island. The space agency is working to return astronauts to the moon by 2024 under orders from the White House, but that deadline appears increasingly unlikely even as three newly chosen commercial teams rush to develop lunar landers.
NASA is less than a week away from launching humans into space from USA soil for the first time since the Space Shuttle era.
"It's great to be in Florida because I'm going to be back in a week, because not too far from here, for the first time in nearly 10 years, we're going to send American astronauts back to space in American rockets from Kennedy Space", Pence told reporters while visiting with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday.
American astronauts have been launching to the space station for the past nine years from Russian soil.
A similar fate could befall Trump and Pence.More news: Collin County lists 5 new COVID-19 cases
However, the launch plan could be hit by bad weather, with 60% of a postponement according to official forecasts. According to a slide presented at the flight readiness review for the Demo-2 mission May 21, visible in an image of the meeting released by NASA, KSC is preparing to host just 465 guests, of which 250 are assigned to a causeway site designated "possible backup/overflow only".
Hurle and Behnken, who arrived in Florida a couple of days ago for final pre-flight preparations, looked in on the flight readiness review as well.
"Here we are today in an empty room, talking to cameras, and all of us are six feet apart", said Bridenstine.
A bigger uncertainty is how many members of the public will travel to watch the launch.
NASA and Space X are urging people to stay at home next Wednesday for safety reasons. NASA has provided special "virtual guest" content on its website and social media channels.More news: Two more COVID-19 related deaths reported in Calhoun County
The White House portrayed the launch as an extension of Trump's promise to reassert American dominance in space. "It was unanimous on the board that we are go for launch".
A check of hotel booking sites May 23 found that a number of hotels in the Space Coast area, including in the cities of Cocoa Beach and Titusville, had vacancies around the May 27 launch date.
Viewing opportunities will also be limited.
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the newly designed space suits for the new flight missions.
In this August 2018 photo made available by SpaceX, Hurley and Behnken familiarize themselves with SpaceX's Crew Dragon, the spacecraft that will transport them to the International Space Station as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
A few final hurdles Demo-2 had left to clear is the static firing of the Falcon 9's Merlin 1D engines and a dry dress rehearsal of launch day proceedings scheduled to occur Saturday (May 22nd) to ensure every kink is worked out of the system and everything is ready to go for launch.More news: Sessions, running for Senate, rejects Trump's criticism
"We " ll continue to be COVID tested as we lead up to launch, because we, of course, don't want to take that up to the International Space Station", he added.