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UPDATE: Here's what you need to know about today's NASA/SpaceX crewed launch

30 May 2020, 13:30 UTC
UPDATE: Here's what you need to know about today's NASA/SpaceX crewed launch
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[NOTE: This is an updated version of the article I wrote for the first launch attempt on Wednesday 27 May 2020. That attempt was scrubbed minutes before launch due to weather concerns, including the potential for lightning strikes along the flight path of the Falcon 9.]

The last time human beings launched from American soil into Earth orbit was on 8 July 2011 — 8 years, 10 months, and 23 days ago. It’s been 3,250 days.

That is planned to change today, when a SpaceX Falcon 9 is scheduled to roar into orbit for the Demo-2 flight, a Crew Dragon atop the 70 meter-high stack, with two astronauts on board: Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.

The launch is scheduled for 19:22 UTC (3:22 p.m. Eastern US time).

If all goes well they’ll be at the International Space Station in about a day, whereupon the Dragon will dock automatically with ISS at the Harmony module, and Behnken and Hurley will begin work with the Expedition 63 crew already on board. They’re scheduled to remain from about 1 to 4 months, returning to Earth for a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean no later than late September.

Artwork of the Crew Dragon on ...

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