Watch SpaceX ready its rocket and astronaut spacecraft for launch

SpaceX is just a few days away from sending its Crew Dragon capsule to space for the very first time with astronauts aboard.

The highly anticipated Demo-2 mission, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, May 27, is also notable for being the first astronaut launch from American soil since the final Space Shuttle mission nearly a decade ago.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be aboard the spacecraft, which will dock late next week with the International Space Station.

On Thursday the SpaceX team tweeted a time-lapse video of the Falcon 9 rocket, complete with the Crew Dragon at the top, getting set up at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida — the very same spot from which Atlantis launched in 2011 in a mission that marked the end of NASA’s Space Shuttle program.

In the video (above) we can see the rocket raised into position before the crew access bridge swings around to connect with the Crew Dragon.

Earlier in the day, SpaceX tweeted a set of close-up photos showing a gleaming Crew Dragon in the hangar at Launch Complex 39A.

In April, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine made the unprecedented move of asking people to stay away from the launch site to prevent crowds from gathering as part of ongoing measures designed to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Florida officials have since lifted some of its lockdown restrictions, though the state still asks that older and high-risk residents stay home as much as possible, and for people to avoid congregating in public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible.

Assuming the weather holds and there are no technical glitches between now and T-minus zero, you’ll be able to enjoy the much-anticipated launch live online on Wednesday. Several pre- and post-launch events will also be streamed live online. Here’s everything you need to know.

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