Four astronauts will be launching to the ISS today on board a SpaceX rocket. The astronauts in question are NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet. They will get to their destination on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, which will be blasted into orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket.
How can I watch the launch?
The Falcon 9 rocket will launch from the NASA Kennedy Space Center, with the launch window opening at 10.49am BST.
Once the Falcon 9 has broken through the clutches of Earth’s lower atmosphere, it will release the Crew Dragon.
The capsule will then reach the ISS the following day at 10.10am.
SpaceX is offering viewers the chance to watch the historic launch, with a live stream available now.
The live stream is available on SpaceX’s website or via its YouTube channel, which has been embedded into this page.
SpaceX said: “SpaceX and NASA are targeting Friday, April 23 for Falcon 9’s launch of Dragon’s second six-month operational crew mission (Crew-2) to the International Space Station (ISS) from historic Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
“This is the first human spaceflight mission to fly astronauts on a flight-proven Falcon 9 and Dragon.
“The Falcon 9 first stage supporting this mission previously launched the Crew-1 mission in November 2020, and the Dragon spacecraft previously flew Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to and from the International Space Station during SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission in 2020.
“On Saturday, April 24, at approximately 5:10 a.m. EDT, 9:10 UTC, Dragon will autonomously dock with the International Space Station.
“This will be the first time Dragon will fly two international partners and it will also be the first time two Crew Dragons are attached simultaneously to the orbiting laboratory.
“After an approximate six-month stay, Dragon and the Crew-2 astronauts will depart from the space station no earlier than October 31 for return to Earth and splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.”
SpaceX said on its Twitter account: “All systems and weather are looking good for Falcon 9’s launch of Dragon with four astronauts on board.”