Vice President Kamala Harris will today award the Congressional Space Medal of Honor for the first time since 2006. The recipients are Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, who became the first astronauts to fly to space on a crewed SpaceX mission in 2020. The pair, who traveled to the International Space Station and stayed there for almost two months, will receive the honor for their bravery.
Hurley and Behnken were part of the first crewed spaceflight from US soil since the last Space Shuttle mission in 2011. They both also flew on the Space Shuttle, and Hurley was on the program's final flight.
Hurley and Behnken's Demo-2 mission was the first crewed flight under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Five other SpaceX crews have since flown to the ISS.
The Congressional Space Medal of Honor is typically given to mark a first in space travel, as The Washington Post notes. Previous recipients include Neil Armstrong, Alan Shepard (the first American to travel to space), John Glenn (the first American in orbit) and Frank Borman (commander of Apollo 8, the first lunar orbit mission). The award was also granted posthumously to the crew of Apollo 1 and those who died aboard the Challenger and Columbia shuttles.