Watch SpaceX's first Crew Dragon launch at 2:49 AM ET

Pablo Tucker
March 2, 2019

We've seen SpaceX's Crew Dragon hurdle multiple delays and survive the scrutiny of a flight readiness review, and now we're finally ready to watch the capsule escape from this planet with the help of a Falcon 9 rocket.

The flight, if successful, will be the first time a spaceship capable of carrying people that is commercially built and operated will travel to the International Space Station.

Boeing is also in the race to end NASA's eight-year drought of launching USA astronauts on US rockets from US soil.

I guarantee everything will not work exactly right and that's cool.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen after being raised into a vertical position on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A February 28, 2019.


The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft is rolled out to Launch Complex 39A for a dry run to prep for the upcoming Demo-1 flight test at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on January 3, 2019.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon will head to the ISS on its first test flight.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket are positioned inside the company's hangar at Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on December 18, 2018.

"Actually having a reentry, with Ripley in the seat, in the position, is critical", said Kathy Lueders, manager for NASA's Commercial Crew Program, during a pre-flight media conference.

SpaceX has been flying uncrewed versions of the Dragon spacecraft to deliver NASA cargo to the International Space Station since 2012.


Human spaceflight is basically the core mission of SpaceX.

Unlike Elon Musk's Starman - which SpaceX strapped tightly to a Roadster during last year's sensational test launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket - Ripley serves an engineering goal. Liftoff is now scheduled for 2:49am EST from Kennedy Space Center.

After a five-day stay, the spacecraft will undock next Friday, March 8, plunging back into the atmosphere for a parachute descent to splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean about 230 miles east of Cape Canaveral. "When we first started, this program was just PowerPoint charts, and now we've got a vehicle out on the pad". NASA's Doug Hurley and Boeing's Christopher Ferguson-who both flew that final shuttle mission-will test drive the new commercial capsules.

If all goes well, SpaceX's Crew Dragon could be the first American spacecraft to ferry astronauts to space from USA soil since the last Space Shuttle mission in 2011 - and Ripley is getting a first taste of what that'll feel like.

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner capsule is expected to undergo its first un-crewed test flight in April. Once NASA and SpaceX are happy, then it's time for the real deal: sending astronauts up on a Crew Dragon scheduled to launch in mid-2019.


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