SpaceX is flying two astronauts up to the ISS tonight – you’ll be able to see it (Credits: AP)

SpaceX rocket carrying astronauts to the ISS will be visible over the UK tonight


Over in America, Nasa is getting ready to launch two astronauts up to orbit so they can join the International Space Station (ISS).

But rather than hopping aboard a Nasa rocket, the space adventurers will be riding in a Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Both of which are made by Elon Musk’s private company SpaceX.

The launch is slated to take place at 5.33pm in Florida, meaning it’ll blast off at 9.33pm UK time.

And, if all goes to plan, you should be able to see it for yourself.

It’ll take about 15 minutes to make it across to our part of the sky, meaning you could see it between 9:45pm and 9:50pm.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft attached sits on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center (Getty Images North America)

British astronaut Tim Peake told BBC Radio 4 Today the rocket will be visible if those in the UK look south-west.

‘If you’ve got clear skies, go outside at 9:50pm and you’ll actually see it fly over,’ he told the show.
Up close the launch will look a bit like this (SpaceX via Getty Images)

At the moment, the weather is looking a bit dicey over in Florida so they may scrub the launch for tonight. However, if it is successful, it’ll be the first manned flight to leave US soil in nine years.

Nasa has always relied on Russian rockets to carry astronauts until now when it can pay SpaceX to provide a taxi service up to the orbiting space laboratory.

The mission, known as Demo-2, has had a number of setbacks but if it proves successful this week Nasa will certify Crew Dragon for regular flights to and from the ISS.

It could pave the way for several more astronaut launches in the future. And, hopefully, more chances for us all to get (sort of) front row seats to watch it happen.