At the end of May, NASA astronauts and NOLS grads Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley launched from the Kennedy Space Center in the SpaceX Crew Dragon on a mission known as SpaceX Demo-2. This was a historic launch for America as it was the first commercially built and operated American spacecraft to carry humans to orbit, according to a NASA press release.
NOLS, a Lander-based nonprofit and worldwide outdoor educator, confirmed in an alumni email earlier this week that both Behnken and Hurley are two-time grads and join the long line of NOLS-trained NASA astronauts.
“NASA has worked with NOLS Custom Education to design custom courses that allowed their astronauts to develop leadership skills and expedition behavior in sometimes uncomfortable and stressful environments,” according to a 2015 NOLS blog post. “The difficulties encountered on course allow NASA to better examine potential crew members’ reactions to adversity and how they work together as a group under stress.”
Behnken and Hurley have joined Expedition 63 on the International Space Station and can remain in orbit for 110 days. According to multiple news outlets, a definitive return date is not set, and an August timeframe is in discussions.