6 ways to watch SpaceX’s historic first rocket launch of NASA astronauts live onlineby Dave Mosher, Morgan McFall-Johnsen, Business Insider US
- SpaceX is about to launch its highest-stakes mission since Elon Musk founded the company in 2002: Its first launch of people.
- NASA is working with the company to launch the mission, called Demo-2, which will fly the astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley inside a Crew Dragon spaceship.
- Poor weather near Cape Canaveral, Florida, scrubbed the first launch attempt on Wednesday. The backup launch dates are Saturday and Sunday.
- SpaceX, NASA, Neil deGrasse Tyson, National Geographic and ABC News, and others will be broadcasting live video coverage of the mission, most of which you can watch online here.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Update: SpaceX scrubbed the launch due to potentially unsafe weather conditions. The next launch attempts are on Saturday at 3:22 p.m. ET and Sunday at 3 p.m. ET. We will update this story as new live broadcast schedules emerge for NASA TV, SpaceX, and other outlets.
On Saturday at 3:22 p.m. ET, SpaceX plans to rocket its first people into orbit since Elon Musk founded the company 18 years ago.
If successful, the historic mission would also resurrect NASA’s ability to launch its astronauts to the International Space Station. The US space agency flew its last space shuttle in July 2011 and has relied on Russia ever since to get to and from the orbiting laboratory.
NASA picked the astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, each of whom has two space-shuttle missions under his belt, to pilot SpaceX’s experimental test flight, which is called Demo-2.
“We have this moment in time where we can unite people again,” Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s administrator, said during a press briefing before launch. “The whole world is going to be watching this.”
Demo-2 is launching from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The company pushed for a launch on Wednesday, May 27, going so far as to fuel the Falcon 9 rocket with two astronauts inside the Crew Dragon spaceship on top. However, the threat of lightning forced SpaceX and NASA to scrub the attempt and delay the launch.
The rocket and spaceship carrying Behnken and Hurley has just a second or so to lift off and get on the right path to meet the ISS. So if there’s another delay in the launch on Saturday, SpaceX and NASA can try again at 3:22 p.m. ET on Sunday. The US Air Force 45th Space Wing’s weather officers on Wednesday said there’s a 60% chance of liftoff for Saturday or Sunday’s launch windows.
Below are six live video broadcasts of the historic launch that you can watch, some online and some via TV channels. We’ve also provided a NASA timeline of launch-day events at the end of this post so that you can follow along.
NASA TV, the agency’s livestreaming channel, broadcast coverage of the Wednesday’s launch attempt starting at at 12 p.m. ET. The agency’s channel has not yet said when its broadcast on Saturday will start, but if the mission takes off and Crew Dragon reaches orbit, NASA TV will show it docking to the space station, its hatch opening, and Behnken and Hurley joining the ISS crew. The agency’s official TV channel also maintains a full and constantly updated schedule of its programming.
SpaceX started its first launch webcast around 12:15 p.m. ET via its YouTube channel. The production was jointly hosted with NASA, but John Insprucker – a top engineer at SpaceX – led the bulk of commentary for the rocket company. SpaceX has not yet said when its next launch broadcast will begin on Saturday.
American Museum of Natural History
Starting at 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday, the American Museum of Natural History broadcast several live video events, including a virtual ride-along of a flight from Earth to the ISS and the moon. At 4:05 p.m. it streamed its launch watch party with commentary from Neil deGrasse Tyson, the museum astrophysicist Jackie Faherty, and the museum curator Michael Shara. AMNH has not said if they will attempt to rebroadcast its coverage on Saturday or Sunday.
National Geographic and ABC News Live
Journalists and meteorologists at National Geographic and ABC News covered the launch with what was supposed to be a two-hour special report on Wednesday that featured interviews with NASA astronauts and officials. The broadcast was intended to continue the following day with the spacecraft docking to the ISS. The outlets may try to reboot the special coverage on Saturday.
Discovery and Science Channel
Both Discovery and Science Channel aired live coverage of SpaceX’s first launch attempt Wednesday on TV and the Discovery Go app and may broadcast again on Saturday. The special featured interviews with both Crew Dragon astronauts’ spouses: the astronaut K. Megan McArthur, who is Behnken’s wife, and the former astronaut Karen Nyberg, Hurley’s wife. The singer Katy Perry also made an appearance.
The Museum of Flight
The Museum of Flight broadcast its own watch party at 3:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, with commentary from the retired astronaut Wendy Lawrence, the space-history curator Geoff Nunn, and the propulsion engineer Dieter M. Zube. We will update this story if the museum plans to rebroadcast its coverage.
Follow along with NASA’s timeline of launch countdown events
The times below are relative to liftoff at 3:22 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Once the crew lifts off, it will take SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon spaceship just under nine minutes to reach orbit. Along the way, the capsule’s automated systems or the crew’s manual override could abort the mission if there’s any problem and try to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean.
-04:15:00 Crew weather brief -04:05:00 Crew handoff -04:00:00 Suit donning and checkouts -03:22:00 Crew Walk Out from Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building -03:15:00 Crew Transportation to Launch Complex 39A -02:55:00 Crew arrives at pad -02:35:00 Crew ingress -02:20:00 Communication check -02:15:00 Verify ready for seat rotation -02:14:00 Suit leak checks -01:55:00 Hatch close -00:45:00 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load -00:42:00 Crew access arm retracts -00:37:00 Dragon launch escape system is armed -00:35:00 RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading begins -00:35:00 1st stage LOX (liquid oxygen) loading begins -00:16:00 2nd stage LOX loading begins -00:07:00 Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch -00:05:00 Dragon transitions to internal power -00:01:00 Command flight computer to begin final prelaunch checks -00:01:00 Propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins -00:00:45 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch -00:00:03 Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start -00:00:00 Falcon 9 liftoff
This story has been updated with new information.