Is the second time a charm? The historic SpaceX NASA launch is attempting liftoff again on Saturday. The launch is scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday, May 30. If the countdown is scrubbed due to weather, then it will be rescheduled for Sunday. Read on to see a live countdown and learn more about what to expect.
The Launch Is Scheduled for Saturday at 3:22 PM Eastern
The historic NASA SpaceX launch is scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday, May 29, at 3:22 p.m. Eastern in Florida.
There’s a chance the launch might be scrubbed again due to weather, just like Wednesday. If that happens, the next backup date is Sunday, May 31, at 3 p.m. Eastern. As of the time of publication, a decision hadn’t yet been made regarding the weather.
A countdown to the launch can be seen below. This countdown timer is based on the time released by NASA predicting a 3:22 p.m. Eastern launch on Saturday, May 30. If for any reason your browser doesn’t let you see the countdown below, you can see it here.
Here’s the time of the launch on Saturday in other time zones:
- 3:22 p.m. Eastern
- 2:22 p.m. Central
- 1:22 p.m. Mountain
- 12:22 p.m. Pacific
For other parts of the world, you can see a full list of the launch time in different locations all around the world here.
This is the first human flight to space from the Kennedy Space Center in nine years, NASA shared. This is also the final step before NASA certifies the Crew Dragon for long-duration missions to the space station. The Crew Dragon will dock with the International Space Station after the launch, with a return date to be decided.
Some YouTube channels are providing live coverage about the launch. You can see one below from NASA. Once this live stream begins to air, it will also have a countdown on the upper left corner of the video. This video will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern even though the launch isn’t until 3:22 p.m. Eastern.
It’s worth noting that weather is still a concern and there is a chance the launch might be scrubbed.
Weather Issues Forced the Delay on Wednesday
The launch scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, May 27 was delayed because of three weather violations requiring the launch to be scrubbed.
A NASA representative shared that three conditions were violated, necessitating scrubbing the launch. These were natural lightning, the field mills, and the attached anvil. The weather would have cleared in 10 minutes, but the launch was an “instantaneous launch” due to necessary orbital mechanics that would allow the spacecraft to get to the space station on time.
WTSP reported earlier in the day that launches won’t happen within 10 nautical miles of an attached thunderstorm anvil cloud unless other criteria can be met and launches won’t occur within 10 miles of a detached thunderstorm anvil cloud either. WTSP also noted that launches won’t happen for 15 minutes “if field mill instrument readings within five nautical miles of the launch pad exceed +/- 1,500 volts per meter, or +/- 1,000 volts per meter if specified criteria can be met.”
NASA assured online viewers that scrubbing a launch is standard procedure.
More Details About the Launch
NASA has shared what we can expect to happen after liftoff and the anticipated launch. The times below are from NASA’s press release about the launch.
Saturday, May 30
- 11 a.m. – NASA TV launch coverage begins (continues through docking)
- 3:22 p.m. – Liftoff
- 4:09 p.m. – Crew Dragon phase burn
- 4:55 p.m. – Far-field manual flight test
- 5:55 p.m. – Astronaut downlink event from Crew Dragon
- 6:30 p.m. – Postlaunch news conference at Kennedy
- Administrator Bridenstine
- Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
- SpaceX representative
- Kirk Shireman, manager, International Space Station Program
- NASA Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester
Sunday, May 31
- 6:45 a.m. – Astronaut downlink event from Crew Dragon
- 10:29 a.m. – Docking
- 12:45 p.m. – Hatch Open
- 1:05 p.m. – Welcome ceremony
- 3:15 p.m. – Post-arrival news conference at Johnson
- NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
- Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer
- NASA Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester
Monday, June 1
- 11:15 a.m. – Space Station crew news conference, with NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken, and Doug Hurley
- 12:55 p.m. – SpaceX employee event and Class of 2020 Mosaic presentation, with NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken, and Doug Hurley
This test flight is an important step in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, whose goal is to ultimately provide safe transportation to and from the International Space Station.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon will lift off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A in Florida for an extended stay at the space station for the Demo-2 mission. This is the final test flight for SpaceX and the first time NASA astronauts test the system in orbit.
After the Crew Dragon lifts off, it will accelerate the astronauts to 17,000 mph to intercept with the International Space Station, NASA shared. Once in orbit, the crew will verify that the Crew Dragon is performing correctly through maneuvering thrusters and performing other tests. After about 24 hours, the Crew Dragon will dock with the space station. After docking, the crew members will become members of the Expedition 63 crew and perform tests on the Crew Dragon along with research tasks on the space station. The Crew Dragon can stay in orbit for 110 days, but the exact duration of this mission is being determined. The operational Crew Dragon used later will be able to stay in orbit for at least 210 days, per NASA requirements.
When the expedition ends, the Crew Dragon will undock with both astronauts on board and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere, splashing down off Florida’s Atlantic Coast. The SpaceX Go Navigator recovery vessel will pick up the Crew Dragon and return to Cape Canaveral. The date of this part of the flight is still being determined.
This is the final step before NASA certifies the Crew Dragon for long-duration missions to the space station.
This is also the first human flight to space from the Kennedy Space Center in nine years, NASA shared.
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