The SpaceX launch of its Crew Dragon capsule on its first crewed mission is scheduled for this Saturday, May 30, carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS).
The launch was originally scheduled for Wednesday, May 27, but was scrubbed due to poor weather. With high levels of electricity in the atmosphere, the launch itself could have triggered lightning which poses a danger to the crew and capsule.
The launch on Saturday will also be dependent on good weather conditions, with some meteorologists concerned that it could be canceled as well due to a late-season cold front which could bring thunderstorms over the weekend.
Here are all the details about why this historic mission matters so much to the space community and how you can watch it live on Saturday.
Why this mission is such a big deal
The mission, officially called the SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 (or Demo-2), will be the first time that American astronauts have launched from American soil since the ending of the space shuttle program in 2011.
If the test flight is successful, it will also mark the beginning of a new era in American space flight, with NASA able to send its astronauts to the ISS for the first time in nearly a decade, rather than relying on the use of Russian Soyuz rocket launches as it does now.
The mission represents a new step in the commercialization of space, with a private company designing and operating launch services for NASA as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew program. NASA has maintained its interest in becoming a customer of commercial operators in space, which it says will help it to save considerable amounts of money.
How to watch Saturday’s SpaceX Crew Dragon launch
The launch, as well as prelaunch briefings and the docking of the spacecraft with the International Space Station, will all be shown live on NASA TV. The launch is scheduled for 12:22 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 30.
Launch coverage begins at 8 a.m. PT on Saturday, with a post-launch news conference with representatives from NASA and SpaceX scheduled for 3:30 p.m. PT on Saturday. Coverage will run nonstop until the Crew Dragon has docked with the ISS and the astronauts have been welcomed on board, with the hatch opening scheduled to occur at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday, May 31.
To watch it, you can tune in to the video above.
- This awesome SpaceX simulator lets you pilot the Crew Dragon in space
- Here’s how much SpaceX and Boeing will save NASA
- Watch SpaceX ready its rocket and astronaut spacecraft for launch
- Next stop for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon? The top of a Falcon 9 rocket
- SpaceX says it’s all set for Wednesday’s historic mission