President Trump and first lady Melania Trump left the White House on Wednesday to see the historic launch of a SpaceX rocket and Crew Dragon capsule NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.
The Trumps walked out of the Oval Office at 12:30 p.m., with the President skipping a Q&A with the gathered press, holding the first lady’s hand as they boarded Marine One, and not wearing a face mask. She put one on while in the helicopter.
Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence had traveled forward to the Kennedy Space Center, where astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be the first to launch from American soil since the end of the Space Shuttle program, which ended nine years ago.
President Trump (left) did not hold an impromptu Q&A with reporters on Wednesday, but held first lady Melania Trump’s right hand on her way to Marine One
The Trumps walked together to Marine One Wednesday as they went to the Kennedy Space Center to see the historic launch of SpaceX-NASA
A masked Secret Service agent faces Marine One as he takes off from the White House’s South Lawn Wednesday
First lady Melania Trump once put on a mask on Marine One Wednesday when she and President Trump traveled to the Kennedy Space Center to watch American astronauts take off for the first time in nine years
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will walk to Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Wednesday
First lady Melania Trump (right) and President Trump (center) board Air Force One Wednesday as they head to Florida to see the SpaceX rocket and capsule two NASA astronauts are taking to space
Air Force Once departs Wednesday from Andrews Joint Base en route to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida
NASA astronaut Robert Behnken gives a thumbs up to Vice President Mike Pence, who was there to say goodbye to the astronauts from their families and leave in white Teslas
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley said goodbye to their families and boarded a Tesla Model X, the other company connected to SpaceX founder Elon Musk
Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken snuggled at their relatives before the historic launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule Wednesday
Hurley was the pilot of the last Space Shuttle mission. In recent years, American astronauts had to travel to the International Space Station with Russian missiles.
The Pences, wearing face masks, stood next to Behnken, Hurley and their families as the astronauts said goodbye on Wednesday afternoon.
The astronauts’ mission is expected to take one to four months.
Then they got into Tesla Model X cars, the other company associated with SpaceX founder Elon Musk.
The white Teslas had NASA’s ‘worm’ logo on the rear window and a spherical blue logo on the sides.
Musk was also in a mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule will take off from Launch Pad 39A, the same facility used by Neil Armstrong and the Apollo crew for their historic journey to the Moon.
Awaiting the arrival of the Trumps, the Pences traveled through Launch Complex 34, where the Apollo 1 fire occurred in 1967, killing three astronauts.
The Vice President and Karen Pence left flowers under the plaque next to Sheryl Lyn Chaffee and Chaffee’s husband Grady Thomas. Chaffee was the daughter of Roger B. Chaffee, one of the late astronauts.
The launch is scheduled to begin at 4:33 PM, although the weather may delay the launch.
A warning for a tornado was given by the National Weather Service for Brevard County, where the Kennedy Space Center is located, with less than three hours to go before launch.
Both Pence and Trump will be making comments from the Kennedy Space Center after launch.
Wednesday’s trip to Florida marks Pence’s second time in the state in a week.
He traveled to Orlando last Wednesday to discuss economic reopening with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, restaurant owners and bosses of hospitality and amusement parks.
During this trip, Pence spoke excitedly about coming back for the missile launch, while DeSantis hinted that Trump could come too.
Trump started traveling again on May 5 and has since made weekly trips to a swinging state. Trump, who now lives in Florida, won the state in 2016. He has to do this again and keep Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin in his column.