SPACE X LAUNCH PART 2 Saturday @ 3:22 pm Et
Demo-2: How to watch SpaceX’s historic first astronaut launch live today
Weather permitting, a Falcon 9 rocket will make another attempt to launch two NASA astronauts to the space station on Saturday at 12:22 p.m. PT/3:22 p.m. ET.
History got put on hold this week, as NASA and SpaceX’s first attempt to launch astronauts to the International Space Station was scrubbed Wednesday due to bad weather. Now the second attempt is almost upon us.
In the early afternoon on Saturday, May 30, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will (hopefully) blast off from the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Inside a Crew Dragon capsule bolted to the top of the rocket, two NASA astronauts will be buckled into purpose-built chairs, their backs to the Earth, racing toward the space station. It’ll be the first time in nine years that US astronauts have launched from US soil.
The mission, called Demo-2, has had to overcome its fair share of setbacks over the last year. Not only that, but in the midst of a global pandemic, it’s somehow kept to its launch schedule. Rocket launches and space missions often elicit a whole range of emotions, but this one feels extra special — and the anticipation for SpaceX’s maiden crewed voyage was at an all-time high.
We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about Demo-2, including when to watch, what the mission is all about and the various livestreams you can tune in to if you want to follow along.
What is Demo-2?
Demo-2 is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which involves two commercial spaceflight companies, SpaceX and Boeing, building and launching crew capsules designed to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS.
SpaceX has a history of cargo and payload launches, but this will be the company’s first time sending humans off this rock.
When: The launch was originally scheduled for Wednesday, May 27, at 1:33 p.m. PT/4:33 p.m. ET, but the weather didn’t cooperate. SpaceX will now aim for its first backup launch time of 12:22 p.m. PT/3:22 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 30. The next opportunity after that will be on Sunday, May 31 at 12:00 p.m. PT/3:00 p.m. ET.
Where: The Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule will blast off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The historic launch pad has previously hosted Apollo and space shuttle missions.
Why: NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is aimed at ending the US reliance on Russian spacecraft for ferrying astronauts to the ISS. NASA has been buying seats on Soyuz capsules since the end of the shuttle program.
This is also part of a broader NASA push for commercial partnerships. “By encouraging industry to provide human transportation services to and from low-Earth orbit, NASA can expand its focus on building spacecraft and rockets for deep space missions,” the space agency said.