The day has finally arrived. This afternoon, NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are scheduled to launch aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon and fly to the International Space Station. You can watch this historic launch live right here.
Update, 6:21 am AEST: Today’s launch was postponed on account of weather. NASA and SpaceX will try again on May 31 at 5:22 am AEST or June 1 at 5:00 am AEST.
Should everything go as planned today, this will be the first launch of NASA astronauts from U.S. soil since the retirement of the Space Shuttle program in 2011. Called Demo-2, the mission is scheduled for launch at 6:33 am AEST from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. You can watch the launch live below, courtesy NASA TV.
For those hoping to catch the action elsewhere, you can watch live coverage on Facebook and Twitter among other outlets, according to Space.
This is a big day for NASA, but it’s arguably an even bigger day for SpaceX, as the private firm, for the very first time, ventures into the realm of human spaceflight. NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will launch aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, which will be propelled into space by a Falcon 9 rocket. The astronauts will dock with the ISS on May 29 at 1:39 a.m. AEST.
Targeting 4:33 p.m. EDT today for Falcon 9’s launch of Crew Dragon with @NASA astronauts on board. Teams are closely monitoring launch and downrange weather → https://t.co/bJFjLCilmc pic.twitter.com/XyyT9YgESB
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 27, 2020
All systems are go, but the weather could present a possible hurdle. As CNN reports, there’s currently a 60 per cent chance of favourable conditions for launch, as showers and storms are possible this afternoon. Should today’s launch be scrubbed, NASA and SpaceX will try again.
Both Behnken and Hurley have been to space before, having flown on the Space Shuttle. The men have been in quarantine since May 13, with special measures taken given the covid-19 pandemic. Once aboard the ISS, the astronauts will join NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. No date has been set for the return of the Crew Dragon.