- NASA and SpaceX will launch a historic mission to the International Space Station today at 4:33 p.m. EDT.
- A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule to the ISS from Kennedy Space Center.
- The launch will be live-streamed online, and you can watch the pre-launch coverage and the launch itself right here.
NASA and SpaceX are about to make history. The space agency’s Commercial Crew program sought to launch astronauts into space, and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon is about to fulfill that promise for the first time. The launch, which will take place from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is scheduled for 4:33 p.m. EDT, and it’s probably the biggest NASA event in recent memory.
As you’d expect from both NASA and SpaceX, the launch is being live-streamed so everyone can enjoy the historic moment from the comfort of their own couches. There are several platforms on which NASA is hosting a stream of the event, including YouTube and Twitch, but lucky for you, you can also watch it right here.
The live stream is scheduled to begin well ahead of the actual launch. The YouTube window below should be up and running with pre-launch programming starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT.
UPDATE: The launch was canceled due to weather and rescheduled for Saturday. You can continue to watch coverage in the live stream above.
When the time finally comes, we’ll see a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carry a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule skyward. The spacecraft is destined for the International Space Station where it will deliver NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley. The duo will remain on the space station for somewhere between a few weeks and a few months, depending on what NASA decides after they arrive.
The fact that SpaceX is facilitating this first crewed launch from US soil since the Space Shuttle era comes as a bit of a surprise, at least to those who favored Boeing and its Starliner to beat Elon Musk’s company to the punch. NASA hired both companies to develop crew-capable spacecraft, and early estimates suggested Boeing was better-equipped to fulfill NASA’s demands.
That didn’t happen… at all. Boeing’s had a rough couple of years, and its recent failure to send the Starliner to the ISS without a crew aboard ensured that SpaceX would have the opportunity to send a crewed mission first. Meanwhile, Boeing still has to complete that unmanned mission before NASA will allow its astronauts to set foot inside the Starliner.
Prior to today’s launch, NASA had been forced to pay Russia for seats aboard its Soyuz rockets bound for the space station, or lose American presence in space entirely. Once the Crew Dragon makes it back to Earth safely, NASA will finally have a chance to sign off on it and certify it for future use, giving the space agency the freedom to send its astronauts into space whenever it wants.