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ASU professor talks the significance of SpaceX's launch on May 27th

A historic launch is set to blast off Tuesday, May 27th. A SpaceX rocket will carry American astronauts to the International Space Station.

Why is it historic?

Astronauts haven’t launched from the United States since 2011.

Dr. Jim Bell is a planetary scientist with Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration. The university isn’t involved in Tuesday's planned launch, but it can still pay dividends for American space exploration down the road.

"It’s the first test of people in one of these commercially provided commercial crew rockets," Bell said.

The launch will be a first for NASA in terms of a private company actually providing the transportation for the astronauts. NASA had given money to SpaceX and Boeing to develop crew spacecraft.

“Economics are motivating the exploration of space. Especially lower orbit and nearer space especially when communications companies have demonstrated there’s money to be made," Bell said.

Private companies are leading the way on the space surrounding Earth while NASA focuses on deeper space.

“The scale of it, it’s much less expensive than it used to be to contract out to these companies, and it’s intended to be much more frequent to carry people to and from the space station," Bell explained.

For more on Tueday's launch, click here.