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Rocket launch a welcome distraction

We all need a bit of a psychological pick-me-up. The tough fight against COVID-19 is taking its toll on us emotionally.

Coronavirus blues, meet the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Just in time to give our spirts a boost, NASA is planning to send a new group of astronauts into space.

The last time our country did that was in 2011, when the last space shuttle flight took place. Since then, American astronauts have had to ride Russian rockets to reach the International Space Station. We, the people who put human beings on the moon, have not been able to send anyone into space in nearly a decade.

That will change on May 27. NASA, working with the SpaceX company, plans to launch a rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on that date. The privately built vehicle is to carry two astronauts, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, to the space station.

Unfortunately, NASA officials have issued a warning about the launch. They are asking the public not to travel to Cape Canaveral to watch the launch. There is concern, obviously because of COVID-19, about too many people gathering in crowds.

Fine. Most of us cannot afford to visit Florida on May 27 anyway. But we can watch the event on television, as most Americans did during the glory days of the space program during the 1960s.

Let us hope television network executives are wise enough to provide extensive coverage.

This is a big deal. After an ill-conceived break from being space pioneers, the United States is getting back into the adventure.

It is that. Space exploration is thrilling, intellectually stimulating and, frankly, a source of immense national pride. It is something we need right now.

Tune in with us on May 27, then. Join us in the countdown … three, two, one, ignition, liftoff!

Join us, too, as we watch the rocket soar into the heavens while we mutter, Take that, you stupid little virus!

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