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Elon Musk says SpaceX's astronaut launch is the 'culmination of a dream'

He tells CBS This Morning that the sense of responsibility for the astronauts' safety "weighs very heavily."

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SpaceX is preparing for a historic launch on Wednesday.
SpaceX

Wednesday's Falcon 9 rocket launch will be the first time a private company is transporting humans into orbit, and SpaceX boss Elon Musk admitted to CBS This Morning that the fact of his company sending NASA astronauts to the International Space Station still "feels surreal" to him. 

"This is the culmination of a dream. This is a dream come true," Musk said. "If you asked me when starting SpaceX if this would happen, I'd be like, 1%, .1% chance."

(Disclosure: CBS This Morning is owned by ViacomCBS, parent company of CNET.)

The historic Demo-2 mission will see the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule carrying astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley blast off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida -- the same location where Apollo and space shuttle missions launched.

See also: How to watch SpaceX's Demo-2 astronaut launch

"39A is like Times Square," Musk said. "It's not just opening a play on Broadway, it's opening a play on Times Square -- it's the best pad in the world."

Despite his excitement, he noted that the sense of responsibility for Behnken and Hurley's safety "weighs very heavily."

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine expressed his hope that the private launch will be the first of many, with the US government as one of many customers for SpaceX and other providers.

"This is the beginning of a commercial marketplace in space," he said.

The launch is scheduled for 1:33 p.m. PT, but stormy weather could delay it until Saturday.

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