HomeLifestyleNASA launch LIVE: Watch the historic NASA-SpaceX Crew Dragon launch HERE today
NASA launch LIVE: Watch the historic NASA-SpaceX Crew Dragon launch HERE today
NASA and SpaceX will attempt to launch the Crew Dragon capsule for a second time this week after bad weather delayed the launch on Wednesday, May 27. There is still a 50 percent chance the backup launch will be scrubbed as well due to weather. But you can already tune in to NASA’s live broadcast of all pre-launch activities in the embedded video player below.
As of 6.44pm BST (1.44pm ETD), astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are already strapped into the Crew Dragon.
The astronauts are pencilled in to blast off at 8.22pm BST (3.22pm ETD) from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
As the Crew Dragon is launched into orbit on top SpaceX’s signature Falcon 9 rocket, the spacecraft will hit speeds of more than 17,000mph.
The two astronauts will then spend about 19 hours in flight before they dock to the International Space Station (ISS) about 250 miles above Earth.
NASA has not launched a single American astronaut from US soil since the Space Shuttle was retired in 2011.
SpaceX tracker: How to see the Crew Dragon and ISS tonight
How to watch the NASA-SpaceX Crew Dragon launch today:
The launch, dubbed Demo-2, is being broadcast online today by NASA and SpaceX.
You can enjoy the free broadcasts here on Express.co.uk, courtesy of NASA’s around-the-clock educational broadcasting.
NASA said: “Watch history unfold on Saturday, May 30, as NASA and SpaceX launch astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station.
“This mission marks the first time since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011 that humans will fly to the space station from US soil.”
We’re just doing our part to test out all the different capabilities of Crew Dragon
Doug Hurley, NASA astronaut
The SpaceX-built Crew Dragon is capable of both autonomous and crewed spaceflight.
Since today’s launch marks Crew Dragon’s first crewed flight, NASA’s astronauts will test the spacecraft’s systems in orbit.
Mr Hurley said: “We specifically, as part of this test flight, designed in some time in the preflight phase as well as closer to the space station so we can test out actual manual flying capability of the vehicle, just to see and verify that it handles the way we expect it to and the way the simulator shows it to fly.
“It’s a prudent part of our flight test, just like anything else, in case the eventuality happened for a future crew that needed to take over manually and fly spacecraft.
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“So we’re just doing our part to test out all the different capabilities of Crew Dragon.”
The capsule has an integrated launch escape system that can carry its crew to safety in the event of a catastrophic failure during launch.
Inside, Crew Dragon can ferry up to seven astronauts to the ISS but NASA will only fly up to four crew at once.
Astronauts Hurley and Behnken were both involved in the Crew Dragon’s design.
Mr Behnken said: “We’ve tried very hard to not make it a vehicle that just Bob likes, or just Doug likes; this is a vehicle for everybody after us who’s going to fly it
“You’re trying to make a vehicle that is easy to operate in space, easy to interpret what it’s telling you, easy to get in and get out of, all those things that you need to do that need to be well-oiled for a space vehicle.”
The spacecraft will fly into orbit using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
The Falcon 9 is the first-ever orbit certified booster rocket capable of returning and landing back on Earth.
SpaceX’s launch countdown for Demo-2:
-45:00 – SpaceX launch director verifies go for fuel propellant.