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Trump to attend Florida launch of SpaceX flight: White House

US astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are scheduled to blast off from Kennedy's historic Launch Pad 39A on Wednesday for the International Space Station, arriving the next day.

FILE: US President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at the White House on 19 March 2020, in Washington, DC. Picture: AFP

WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump will attend the 27 May launch of two astronauts aboard a SpaceX mission - the first crewed space flight from US soil in nine years, the White House said Saturday.

"Our destiny, beyond the Earth, is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security," Trump said in a statement ahead of the visit, which will underline his push for a return to work in the US amid the coronavirus pandemic.

US astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are scheduled to blast off from Kennedy's historic Launch Pad 39A at 4:33 pm (2033 GMT) on Wednesday for the International Space Station, arriving the next day.

The mission is seen as a crucial step towards ending American dependence on Russian rockets.

Asked about going ahead with the mission in the midst of the pandemic, Behnken told reporters: "Where there's a will, there's a way."

Behnken and Hurley have been in strict quarantine since 13 May, but they said their actual isolation began as far back as mid-March.

However, the launch plan could be hit by bad weather, with 60% of a postponement according to official forecasts.