When it comes to watching SpaceX's historic first astronaut launch for NASA on tonight you have plenty options.
The mission, called Demo-2, will launch NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley into orbit on a Crew Dragon spacecraft on-top a Falcon 9 Rocket. Lift-off is set for 16:33 pm EDT, That is 22:33 in South Africa, from NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
While the major international news networks are sure to host their own special reports, we have put together a webcast guide to get the most out of your SpaceX launch viewing.
Just click the underlined links
NASA's webcast of the SpaceX launch will begin at 18:00 Bravo, when the space agency will begin broadcasting live views of Crew Dragon and its Falcon 9 rocket atop Pad 39A of the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
The main webcast will begin at 18:15 Bravo, when NASA will begin continuous coverage that will run through the Demo-2 mission's arrival at the International Space Station on Thursday, May 28. Docking is set for 17:39 Bravo Thursday.
Here's a full list of the NASA streams available:
What you can expect
Wednesday 27 May
18:15 – NASA TV launch coverage begins (continues through docking)
22:33 – Lift-off
23:22 – Crew Dragon phase burn
Thursday 28 May
0:05 – Far-field manual flight test
1:05 – Astronaut downlink event from Crew Dragon
1:30 – Post launch news conference at Kennedy
13:20 – Astronaut downlink event from Crew Dragon
17:39 – Docking
19:55 – Hatch Open
20:25 – Welcome ceremony
22:15 – Post-Arrival News Conference at Johnson
Friday, May 29
18:05 – Space Station crew news conference, with NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley
18:50 – SpaceX employee event and Class of 2020 Mosaic presentation, with NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken, and Doug Hurley
The man behind SpaceX
Tonight’s launch will not only be a victory for NASA, The USA, and SpaceX but for all South Africans as well as Elon Musk is one of us.
Elon was born and raised in Pretoria, to a South African father and a Canadian mother. He displayed an early talent for computers and entrepreneurship. At age 12 he created a video game and sold it to a computer magazine. In 1988, after obtaining a Canadian passport, Musk left South Africa as he planned to peruse greater economic opportunities available in the United States.
Musk attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and in 1992 he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, where he received bachelor’s degrees in physics and economics in 1995. He enrolled in graduate school in physics at Stanford University in California, but he left after only two days because he felt that the Internet had much more potential to change society than work in physics.
That year he founded Zip2, a company that provided maps and business directories to online newspapers. In 1999 Zip2 was bought by the computer manufacturer Compaq for $307 million, and Musk then founded an online financial services company, X.com, which later became PayPal.
PayPal specialised in transferring money online. The online auction eBay bought PayPal in 2002 for $1.5 billion.
Musk was long convinced that for life to survive, humanity has to become a multi-planet species. However, he was dissatisfied with the great expense of rocket launchers. In 2002 he founded Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to make more affordable rockets. Its first two rockets were the Falcon 1 (first launched in 2006) and the larger Falcon 9 (first launched in 2010), which were designed to cost much less than competing rockets.
A third rocket, the Falcon Heavy (first launched in 2018), was designed to carry 53,000 kg to orbit, nearly twice as much as its largest competitor, the Boeing Company’s Delta IV Heavy, for one-third the cost. SpaceX also developed the Dragon spacecraft, which carries supplies to the International Space Station and is designed to carry as many as seven astronauts, the first human launch we will be watching tonight. Musk successfully reduced the expense of space-flight by developing a fully reusable rocket that could lift off and return to the pad it launched from. Beginning in 2012, SpaceX’s Grasshopper rocket made several short flights to test such technology. In addition to being CEO of SpaceX, Musk was also chief designer in building the Falcon rockets, Dragon, and Grasshopper.
Good luck with tonight’s launch Elon Musk, I’m sure South Africa will be cheering you on every step of the way.