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Trump to attend SpaceX launch in Florida

The Hill logo The Hill 22/05/2020 Morgan Chalfant
a close up of smoke: Trump to attend SpaceX launch in Florida © UPI Photo Trump to attend SpaceX launch in Florida

President Trump will attend a major SpaceX launch at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida next Wednesday, according to a White House official.

NASA astronauts are scheduled to fly on SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft on May 27, lifting off from the Kennedy Space Center complex at Cape Canaveral. It will be the first time that NASA has launched astronauts from the United States to the International Space Station since 2011.

The flight will mark the last flight test for the Crew Dragon spacecraft before it enters regular service. The capsule will blast off with a Falcon 9 rocket.

Workers near the top of the 526 ft. Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center spruce up the NASA logo standing on scaffolds in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday, May 20, 2020. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket scheduled for May 27 will launch a Crew Dragon spacecraft on its first test flight with astronauts on-board to the International Space Station. (AP Photo/John Raoux) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Workers near the top of the 526 ft. Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center spruce up the NASA logo standing on scaffolds in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday, May 20, 2020. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket scheduled for May 27 will launch a Crew Dragon spacecraft on its first test flight with astronauts on-board to the International Space Station. (AP Photo/John Raoux) Trump acknowledged Thursday that he was considering attending the launch in Florida. The trip will be Trump's fourth to a battleground state in the same number of weeks and will mark his first trip not related to the federal response to the novel coronavirus.

Trump has made space operations a priority during his administration, touting the establishment of the U.S. Space Force - the sixth branch of the U.S. military - in a defense policy bill negotiated and signed in December.

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to make a statement to reporters about reopening places of worship across the United States by declaring them "essential" during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis © Thomson Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to make a statement to reporters about reopening places of worship across the United States by declaring them "essential" during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis Trump's three prior trips outside Washington in recent weeks include a visit Thursday to a Ford Motor Company plant in Michigan producing ventilators and other protective equipment to help front-line health care workers combat the pandemic. He has made similar trips to Pennsylvania and Arizona.

Florida represents a key battleground state for the president as he seeks reelection; Trump won the state narrowly in 2016. The RealClearPolitics polling index shows former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, with a slight edge over the president in the Sunshine State.

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