WATCH: NASA astronauts hold news conference ahead of next week’s manned space launch

SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk, left, speaks with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley, center, and Bob Behnken, right, who are assigned to fly on the crewed Demo-2 mission after launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft on the Demo-1 mission from firing room four of the Launch Control Center, Saturday, March 2, 2019 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Photo by Joel Kowsky /NASA via Getty Images) (2019 NASA)

The two astronauts who will end a nine-year launch drought for NASA flew to Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, exactly one week before their historic SpaceX flight.

NASA astronauts hold news conference ahead of next week’s manned space launch

Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are taking part in a news conference ahead of their historic SpaceX flight next week.

Posted by WSLS 10 / on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

It will be the first time a private company, rather than a national government, sends astronauts into orbit.

NASA test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken departed Houston aboard one of the space agency's jet planes.

The two, along with others, will speak to the media at 4 p.m.

They're scheduled to blast off next Wednesday atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, bound for the International Space Station. They'll soar from the same pad where Atlantis closed out the space shuttle program in 2011, the last home launch for NASA astronauts.

Awaiting the astronauts at Kennedy's former shuttle landing strip were the center's director, former shuttle commander Robert Cabana, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

The welcoming committee was reduced drastically in size because of the coronavirus pandemic. Journalists were told to wear masks.

NASA’s commercial crew program has been years in the making. Boeing, the competing company, isn’t expect to launch its first astronauts until next year.