Today is the day! NASA is finally launching astronauts from US soil for the first time since the days of the Space Shuttle. While that feels like it happened a lifetime ago, it was only in 2011 that we last saw that happen. Since then, NASA has depended on Russia and their Soyuz capsule to send their astronauts up to the International Space Station (at a cost of $80M).
In usual fashion, SpaceX will be livestreaming the entire event which begins with a ride on a special Tesla Model X to the launchpad. From there the astronauts will board the Crew Dragon capsule and then the rocket will be fueled; a process that had been considered controversial but eventually approved by NASA. You can watch all of it right here:
Coverage will begin around 12:30pm EDT (4 hours before liftoff). There is an "instantaneous launch window" for 4:33pm. If that time is not possible, the launch will be postponed to no earlier than Saturday.
In an interesting twist, the astronauts stated they have picked a name for their spaceship, and will be revealing it today. Also, as previously reported, they will be taking with them a special Photomosaic made out of the faces of this year's graduates.
JoseQ's Look at this Thing
I am of course extremely excited to see this. While this isn't the first time this Crew Dragon capsule takes flight, it will be the first time it does so with actual humans inside. Not only that, but it's also the first time that a rocket that takes humans into orbit, will come back to earth and land softly. A new era of spaceflight for humans begins today.