How to watch SpaceX launch a cargo ship to the space station this week

This week, SpaceX will launch an uncrewed cargo ship to deliver supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch will take place on Tuesday, December 21, and will be livestreamed by NASA. We’ve got all the details on how to watch along at home.

The Cargo Dragon spacecraft will be packed with 6,500 pounds of cargo including scientific experiments to be performed on the space station. This will be SpaceX’s third launch using a Falcon 9 rocket in three days, following two launches this weekend.

What to expect from the launch

SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft, seen atop a Falcon 9 rocket, at the launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 24, 2021, in preparation for the company’s 23rd commercial resupply services mission.
SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft, seen atop a Falcon 9 rocket, at the launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 24, 2021, in preparation for the company’s 23rd commercial resupply services mission. SpaceX

The Cargo Dragon will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Following the launch, the Cargo Dragon will separate from the rocket around 12 minutes after liftoff and will start a series of thruster maneuvers to carry it to the space station, where it will dock on the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module.

The Dragon will stay docked to the station for around a month, then it will be loaded back up with completed experiments to be returned to Earth.

How to watch the launch live

Coverage of the launch is set to begin on Tuesday, December 21 at 4:45 a.m. ET (1:45 a.m. PT) with the launch itself scheduled for 5:06 a.m. ET (2:06 a.m. PT).

The craft will then travel to the International Space Station throughout Tuesday, and you can tune into the coverage again early on Wednesday morning to see it dock with the ISS.

If you’d like to learn more about the launch and the scientific research which will be heading to the space station, there is also a prelaunch news conference which you can tune into on Monday, December 20. That will be shown at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) on Monday.

You can watch all of these either by heading to NASA’s website or by using the video embedded at the top of this page.

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