Demo-2 marks the first launch of NASA astronauts on an commercial spacecraft and the first launch of American astronauts into orbit on a U.S.-built vehicle from America since 2011. The weather forecast for Saturday calls for a 50% chance of good launch conditions.
The mission will blast off from Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Pad 39A. Two veteran NASA astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, will be tucked inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. Launch will begin a 19-hour journey to the International Space Station, where the astronauts will spend between one and four months living and working.
Demo-2 is a crucial mission for reestablishing direct NASA access to the orbiting laboratory. Since the space shuttles retired in 2011, the agency’s crewmembers have been launching aboard Russian Soyuz capsules from Kazakhstan.
Coverage begins at 12 p.m. EDT, with live views of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule on the launch pad. That begins 26 hours of continuous coverage of the mission on NASA TV, which will bring viewers through the astronauts’ arrival at the space station.
At 12:15 p.m. EDT (1615 GMT), a joint NASA and SpaceX broadcast of the launch will begin, with commentary coming in from Kennedy, from NASA’s astronaut hub at Johnson Space Center in Houston and from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Launch is scheduled for 4:33 p.m. EDT (2033 GMT).
A final news conference will round out the day at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT), with insight from both NASA and SpaceX about the launch.
NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station. These activities are a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which is working with the U.S. aerospace industry to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil for the first time since 2011.
NASA and SpaceX are targeting 4:33 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 27, for the launch of the Demo-2 flight, which will be the first time a commercially built and operated American rocket and spacecraft will carry humans to the space station. The launch, as well as other activities leading up to the launch, will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock to the space station at 11:29 a.m. Thursday, May 28.
This will be SpaceX’s final test flight of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and will provide data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking and landing operations.
The test flight also will provide valuable data toward NASA certifying SpaceX’s crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the space station. SpaceX currently is readying the hardware for the first rotational mission, which would happen after data from this mission is reviewed for NASA’s certification.
‘ISS Live!’ Tune in to the space station
Find out what the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station are up to by tuning in to the “ISS Live” broadcast. Hear conversations between the crew and mission controllers on Earth and watch them work inside the U.S. segment of the orbiting laboratory. When the crew is off duty, you can enjoy live views of Earth from Space. You can watch and listen in the window below, courtesy of NASA.
“Live video from the International Space Station includes internal views when the crew is on-duty and Earth views at other times. The video is accompanied by audio of conversations between the crew and Mission Control. This video is only available when the space station is in contact with the ground. During ‘loss of signal’ periods, viewers will see a blue screen.
“Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it experiences a sunrise or a sunset about every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but can sometimes provide spectacular views of lightning or city lights below.”