Today, Sunday, November 15, at 7:27 p.m. EST SpaceX will launch Crew-1 astronauts atop a Falcon 9 rocket aboard the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft. NASA Astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, and Soichi Noguchi who works for Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), will liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. They will embark on a historic ~27 hour voyage to the International Space Station (ISS). The Crew-1 mission is the first operational flight under the agency's Commercial Crew Program which aims to launch astronauts regularly from American soil. SpaceX announced weather is 50% favorable for this evening's crewed flight.
All systems are go for tonight’s launch at 7:27 p.m. EST of Crew Dragon’s first operational mission with four astronauts on board. Teams are keeping an eye on weather conditions for liftoff, which are currently 50% favorable → https://t.co/bJFjLCzWdK pic.twitter.com/GTpvVAiLkK— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 15, 2020
Crew Dragon is capable of arriving to ISS in 8.5 hours but the Crew-1 voyage will be around 27-hours long because the space station will be further away due to the launch delay caused by Tropical Storm Eta. Crew-1 was previously scheduled to launch on Saturday. If the astronauts had launched yesterday, the space station's orbit was closer for the spacecraft to reach in less than ten hours. --"It's about 27 hours from launch to dock," Stitch told reporters, "And that's just due to the way the orbital mechanics line up." The Crew-1 astronauts will orbit Earth for over twenty hours until they reach the ISS orbiting laboratory. Crew Dragon is expected to dock autonomously to the station's Harmony module.
The mission was delayed by a day because SpaceX plans to recover the Falcon 9 rocket's first-stage booster soon after launching the Dragon Resilience spacecraft to orbit. The booster recovery operations requires stable ocean conditions as the rocket returns from space to land on SpaceX's Just Read the Instructions automated droneship waiting in the Atlantic Ocean. "Fundamentally, this was an issue of getting the drone ship there in time," Benji Reed, SpaceX's Senior Director for Human Spaceflight Programs, told reporters in a Friday press conference. "The weather was such because of this tropical storm, that we couldn't get the droneship to leave in time and get there." Recovering rockets is vital, it enables the company to reuse the launch vehicle on a future launch which significantly reduces the cost of spaceflight. "This booster is very important for us," NASA's Commercial Crew Program manager Steve Stitch said. " We're going to reuse the first stage that we're flying on Crew-1 for the Crew-2 mission coming up in the springtime." The next astronaut launch is scheduled for March 30 in 2021.
Today, @NASA’s @SpaceX Crew-1 mission launches to the @Space_Station with @Astro_illini, @AstroVicGlover, Shannon Walker and @Astro_Soichi. Will you be watching?— NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) November 15, 2020
3:15pm ET: Coverage begins
7:27pm ET: Liftoff
9:30pm ET: Mission updates
💻: https://t.co/YeWrpz41EN pic.twitter.com/1lP1dZeWR5
NASA will share Live broadcast of Crew-1 astronauts ~27 hour voyage to the International Space Station. Reed said the extra time spent aboard Dragon Resilience --"gives them more opportunity to try out Dragon," adding that SpaceX engineers look forward to learning how comfortable the four astronauts feel aboard the craft. The astronauts will also be tasked with seeing how Dragon's features perform during the longer-duration journey. Crew-1 will have time to share video of their experience with the public via NASA TV. "I'm pretty sure there are a couple of broadcast events that they'll be able to do with this time period, and you know, checking things out seeing the Earth go by," he added. You can watch full coverage of NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 mission in the video below, starting this afternoon at 3:15 p.m. Eastern Time. Full broadcast schedule is listed below.
WATCH IT LIVE!
November 15, Sunday
3:15 p.m. EST. – Coverage of the launch of the SpaceX Crew-1 Mission on the “Resilience” Crew Dragon to the International Space Station (Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, Soichi Noguchi).
Launch scheduled at 7:27 p.m. EST; coverage will be continuous through docking and hatch opening
9:30 p.m. – NASA/ SpaceX Crew-1 postlaunch news conference (time is subject to change)
November 16, Monday
11 p.m. EST - Docking of the SpaceX “Resilience” Crew Dragon and the Crew-1 Crew to the International Space Station - Hawthorne, Calif./Johnson Space Center
Novemeber 17, Tuesday
1:40 a.m. EST - Welcoming Ceremony for the SpaceX “Resilience” Crew Dragon Crew-1 Crew at the International Space Station (Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, Soichi Noguchi) - Hawthorne, Calif./Johnson Space Center
2 a.m. (approximately) - SpaceX Crew-1 Mission post-docking news conference with senior NASA and JAXA officials
12:30 p.m. - NASA Science Live: Rising Sea Levels
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.