SpaceX’s Next NASA Launch: When to Watch


In Florida on Sunday, a rocket and capsule built by SpaceX will carry crew members to the International Space Station. The NASA mission follows on a successful demonstration of the same spacecraft that launched in May and returned two astronauts to Earth in August. Here’s what you need to know about the launch.

Four astronauts — three from NASA, one from JAXA, the Japanese space agency — will be sitting inside a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, boosted to orbit on top of a Falcon 9 rocket. The mission is known as Crew-1, and the astronauts named their capsule Resilience. They are headed to the International Space Station for a six-month stay.

This is the first of what NASA calls “operational” flights of the Crew Dragon. In May, there was a demonstration mission, with two NASA astronauts — Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley — aboard. That launch, in a capsule named Endeavour, was the first time that a crewed mission had lifted off from the United States to orbit since the retirement of NASA’s space shuttles in 2011. Its return was also the first water landing by astronauts aboard an American spacecraft since the Apollo capsules stopped flying in the 1970s.

NASA has been relying on Russian Soyuz rockets to get its astronauts to the space station. That has become increasingly expensive, rising to a cost of more than $90 million a seat.



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