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Elon Musk has ‘a very human side to him,’ NASA astronaut Doug Hurley says ahead of ‘Return to Space’
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Elon Musk left a lasting impression on Doug Hurley.
The entrepreneur’s two-decade effort to resurrect America’s space travel ambitions is the subject of a new Netflix documentary, "Return to Space." It follows astronauts Hurley and Bob Behnken as they embark on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft in 2020.
SpaceX became the first private company to send astronauts into orbit with the liftoff from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, ending a nine-year launch drought from home soil for NASA astronauts. NASA had been relying solely on Russia to ferry astronauts to the space station since the retirement of the shuttles in 2011.
The 55-year-old former U.S. Marine Colonel, who retired from NASA after 21 years of service in 2021, sat down for the film and recalled his journey working alongside the 50-year-old and how it impacted his life.
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Hurley spoke to FOX Business about why he’s speaking out now, what surprised him the most about Musk and what he thinks of the current space race.
FOX Business: What was it about this documentary that made you want to come forward and share your story? Doug Hurley: Well, it was certainly an event that was going to make history. There are so many things you have to go through to make this moment happen, so it’s important to document it. And as you're experiencing it, it’s easy to forget the little details that helped bring you to that moment. So, for me, it was really neat to look back at this. Because, in the end, it was an incredible life experience.
FOX Business: What was your initial impression of Elon Musk? Hurley: I got to meet him pretty early in the process. The thing that amazed me about Elon is his incredible grasp of the technical situation. He’s obviously very busy with his many companies and other interests. But when you sit down with him and talk about an issue, face to face, he completely gets to the heart of the situation. You can talk to him about the spacecraft itself or an issue with the rocket — he wants to understand all of it. He's very hands-on. And you have engineers, literally the experts of the system, on site to address those questions.
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