Private space company SpaceX is about to do something for the first time. This week the company launches its first human passengers (astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley) into space, a major test for the Elon Musk-backed outfit and a stepping stone on its route to Mars.
And you probably want to watch it. SpaceX’s rocket launches are always entertaining. When the Falcon Heavy sent Elon’s Tesla Roadster into space, that was one heck of a stream. It’s still very watchable today, particularly the near-synchronised landing on two of the booster rockets. Pity about the third, but you can’t have everything.
But the car-in-space was two years back and we’re living in 2020 (against our wills, but still). Can’t change that now. Which is fine, we wanna watch the new launch this week, not the one we’ve already seen. SpaceX sends its first passengers into space at 16:33 ET on 27 May 2020. That’s tomorrow night, at 22:33 SAST. The astronauts will spend around nineteen hours in orbit before making contact with the International Space Station (ISS), where they disembark and hang around for at least six weeks.
And you can, obviously, watch the launch live. There are several ways to do so. Both NASA and SpaceX will be hosting two different live streams — either via their official websites (SpaceX, NASA) or via their respective YouTube channels (SpaceX, NASA). You can also catch the launch on NASA’s Ustream channel if you’re feeling a little hipster about the whole thing.
A successful launch has broader implications beyond being a first for SpaceX. It’s also a marker for how far spaceflight has come, and where it’ll go in future. If private companies being to launch us off this rock in earnest, we’ll look back at the 27 May 2020 launch as the starting point of a whole new era of space travel.