Spacex launch: what time does the SN15 starship lift off, what is Crew-2 mission - and how to watch from UK
SpaceX is readying itself for its third astronaut launch this in under a year.
The launch, will see four astronauts transported from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the International Space Station.
The SpaceX Crew-2 mission is the second crew rotation mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station.
Here’s everything you need to know about the launch.
When is the launch?
If weather allows it the launch will take place on Friday (April 23) from Kennedy Space Center on the United States’ east coast.
The launch will take place at dawn local time, meaning UK viewers will be able to watch events unfold at a civilised hour.
Liftoff is expected at 10.49am BST.
The Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock to the space station about 10:10am BST on Saturday, April 24
How can I follow events?
You can also watch events unfold via SpaceX’s Youtube channel.
What is the mission of the flight?
The mission will see a number of scientific experiments conducted on the ISS covering human research, biology, fluid physics, material sciences and environmental sciences.
This is the second crew rotation flight with astronauts on the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the first launch with two international partners as part of the Nasa’s commercial crew programme.
After successfully docking at the space station, the astronauts of Crew-2 will join the Expedition 65 crew aboard the orbital outpost, including the Crew-1 astronauts still aboard.
The Crew-1 astronauts are targeted for return in late April or early May.
After an approximate six-month stay, Dragon and the Crew-2 astronauts will depart from the ISS no earlier than October 31 for return to Earth and splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
Who are the crew?
The Crew-2 flight will carry NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur – who will serve as the mission’s spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively.
They will be joined by JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who will serve as mission specialists to the space station for a six-month science mission.
Pesquet will be the first ESA astronaut to fly on a SpaceX Crew Dragon being launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida.
During the final month of his stay Mr Pesquet will be commander of the ISS.