HAWTHORNE (CBSLA) — NASA astronauts paid a visit to SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne Monday.

As CBSLA’s Lisa Sigell reports, they met with engineers ahead of the company’s first Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station.

“I’m overjoyed. This truly is a test pilot’s dream and I’m excited about the whole thing,” said NASA astronaut Victor Glover.

For seven years American astronauts have had to hitch rides into space on Russian rockets. Now it will be American astronauts on American rockets launched from American soil.

“I’m really excited to bring my family and my friends to a launch again,” said NASA astronaut Bob Behnken.

The Crew Dragon and another built by Boeing hopes to safely deliver astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station, ushering in a new era for space travel.

Behnken and Douglas Hurley will command the capsule on its first test mission.

“Being able to fly a first flight of a vehicle as a test pilot is once-in-a-generational type of opportunity,” said Hurley.

It’s the first time NASA has partnered with private industry to launch astronauts into space, bringing with it so many possibilities for us and all of Southern California.

“What’s exciting for this area is actually very exciting for this entire nation,” said NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins.

SpaceX plans to launch its first flight with astronauts onboard next year. On the first crew flight there will be two astronauts. After that there will be four astronauts.

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