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Spokane astronaut Anne McClain praises SpaceX-NASA partnership in CBS’s broadcast of delayed launch

UPDATED: Wed., May 27, 2020

The SpaceX Falcon 9, with the Crew Dragon spacecraft on top of the rocket, sits on Launch Pad 39-A Wednesday, May 27, 2020, at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Two astronauts will fly on the SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station scheduled for launch Wednesday afternoon. (David J. Phillip / AP)
The SpaceX Falcon 9, with the Crew Dragon spacecraft on top of the rocket, sits on Launch Pad 39-A Wednesday, May 27, 2020, at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Two astronauts will fly on the SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station scheduled for launch Wednesday afternoon. (David J. Phillip / AP)

Although being in space might make some astronauts feel isolated from the rest of the world, astronaut Anne McClain said her experience was quite the opposite.

“I felt so connected to everybody that I was working with,” she said as she participated in the CBS broadcast of the canceled launch of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission. “I also felt very physically connected to the earth, I would look and I would see the earth.”

McClain, who grew up in Spokane, participated in CBS’s broadcast of the launch. Had the mission gone forward, it would have marked the first time in nearly a decade that astronauts launched into orbit from American soil.

NASA rescheduled the launch for Saturday.

Seeing the earth from a spacewalk is like orbital mechanics, McClain said. The sun and the moon are moving and the earth is spinning.

“You really feel like you are part of all the solar system posters that you had growing up and looked at, and you also feel this profound sense of fragility of the earth – the atmosphere is so thin,” she said.

McClain praised the partnership between SpaceX and NASA, calling it “kind of the perfect marriage.”

It’s been a growing experience for NASA, SpaceX and other companies involved and getting to launch is much bigger than any one organization, she said.

Private industry in the U.S. is so adaptive, malleable and innovative, while NASA has a lot of history, institutional knowledge and experience, she said.

As astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were readying for their launch, she said, they were likely more calm than others at the site because they had to be focused on double-checking every procedure they needed to carry out, McClain said.

“You don’t really get the time to reflect on the big picture until either you’re finished and you’re looking back or, like today, you’re sitting there like I am in my living room watching my two friends about to launch.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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