Watch SpaceX's first operational Crew Dragon mission at 7:27PM ET

Crew-1 is the start of regular occupied flights aboard private spacecraft.

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Jon Fingas
November 15, 2020 1:58 PM
SpaceX Crew-1 Dragon capsule aboard a Falcon 9 rocket
SpaceX, Twitter

There were some delays, but SpaceX and NASA are (hopefully) ready to make Crew Dragon a regular part of American spaceflight. The two are expected to launch the capsule’s first operational mission, Crew-1, at 7:27PM Eastern, with NASA TV offering livestreamed coverage starting at 3:15PM. You can also watch SpaceX’s own stream close to the launch (currently set for 7:25PM). SpaceX warned that the conditions are 50 percent “favorable,” so don’t be surprised if there’s another delay.

You can’t really stay tuned in until the docking. Demo-2 reached the International Space Station in 19 hours, and NASA is planning for a longer 27-hour trip to ensure predictable sleep for the crew,

Unlike the Demo-2 mission, Crew-1 will carry NASA’s (but not SpaceX’s) full complement of four astronauts. Three of them (Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Shannon Walker) are from the agency itself, while Japan’s Soichi Noguchi will also be aboard. All four are expected to stay at the ISS for six months. If all goes well, this will resemble many Crew Dragon flights going forward.

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SpaceX won’t be the only private outfit ferrying astronauts before long. NASA is still hopeful to use Boeing’s Starliner capsule as soon as 2021. If that happens, private crewed spacecraft could be relatively common sights in orbit — especially as the current NASA administration aims for commercial use.

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Watch SpaceX's first operational Crew Dragon mission at 7:27PM ET