SpaceX is counting down to launch the second all-private mission to the International Space Station today (May 21) and if you’re hoping to follow it online, you’ll need to know when it actually lifts off.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch four astronauts into Axiom space Mission Ax-2 to the space station from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The 10-day mission is commanded by the former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitsonwith paying customer John Shoffner as pilot and Saudi Arabia’s first two astronauts, Ali AlQarni and Rayyanah Barnawi, completing the crew.
You can follow the launch live with our Ax-2 Mission Updates page and Watch Ax-2 Astronaut Launch Live Online. Read on to find out what time SpaceX will launch the Ax-2 mission today
What time is the SpaceX Ax-2 astronaut launch?
SpaceX will launch the Ax-2 mission to Axiom space To 5:37 p.m. EDT (9:37 p.m. GMT) Pad 39A at NASA Kennedy Space Centerthe site used by the company for all its manned spaceflight missions.
The launch has an “instant window,” meaning SpaceX must launch at that time to reach the International Space Station on time and cannot maintain the countdown. If SpaceX has to delay for any reason, the company can try again on Monday, May 22 at 5:14 p.m. EDT (9:14 p.m. GMT).
Related: Meet the 4 astronauts of Axiom Space’s Ax-2 mission
Can I watch the Ax-2 astronaut launch online?
Yes. NASA, SpaceX and Axiom Space will offer a series of live webcasts allowing the public to follow the launch of Ax-2 live. You can watch the SpaceX Ax-2 launch online in a Space.com simulcast of these webcasts.
The SpaceX webcast will begin around 2:10 p.m. EDT (6:10 p.m. GMT) and run until takeoff. You can find it at SpaceX’s Ax-2 mission page And Youtube channel. The company will also offer audio-only streaming from its Florida launch center and mission control center in Hawthorne, California.
The Axiom Space launch webcast begins at the same time and may be a simulcast. It will be broadcast live on Axiom YouTube Channel. Axiom Space also said it would provide an Arabic live stream to Saudi viewers following the launch.
The NASA webcast will begin at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT) and cover the last hour of pre-launch operations and lift-off. It will be broadcast on the NASA YouTube channel and NASA television.
How long is SpaceX’s Ax-2 astronaut launch?
From liftoff to spacecraft separation, SpaceX’s Ax-2 mission launch should last a little less 13 minutesbut the mission itself will last much longer.
Axiom Space’s Ax-2 astronauts will fly a 10 day job At international space station and are expected to spend eight of those days living and working aboard the space station, where they will perform 20 different scientific investigations among other outreach tasks and events. It will take 15 hours for the Dragon capsule, called Freedom, to reach the space station on Monday May 22.
SpaceX’s final hour before launch includes a series of critical tasks to prepare the rocket for flight. Here’s the schedule SpaceX will follow to reach liftoff, including refueling the Falcon 9 rocket with its RP-1 rocket-grade kerosene and liquid oxygen (LOX) propellant.
Related: Ax-2 private astronaut mission to grow first stem cells in space
|TIME (Hr:Min:Sec)||EVENT||Header Cell – Column 2|
|T-00:45:00||Launch director gives “go” for refueling||Line 0 – Cell 2|
|T-00:42:00||Armed Dragon Launch Evacuation System||Line 1 – Cell 2|
|T-00:35:00||RP-1 refueling begins||Row 2 – Cell 2|
|T-00:35:00||Start of the LOX refueling of the 1st stage||Line 3 – Cell 2|
|T-00:16:00||Stage 2 LOX refueling begins||Row 4 – Cell 2|
|T-00:7:00||Falcon 9 engine cooling||Row 5 – Cell 2|
|T-00:05:00||Internally Powered Dragon||Row 6 – Cell 2|
|T-00:01:00||Propellant tank pressurization for flight||Row 7 – Cell 2|
|T-00:01:00||Command Flight Computer Final Checks||Line 8 – Cell 2|
|T-00:00:45||Run Director’s Final GO for Launch||Row 9 – Cell 2|
|T-00:00:03||Engine ignition sequence starts||Line 10 – Cell 2|
|T-00:00:00||Lift-off||Row 11 – Cell 2|
A the Falcon 9 Rocket carrying the AX-2 mission lifts off, then the 13-minute journey into orbit begins. Here’s a look at how it will work for this flight, including the first and second stage main engine cutouts (MECO).
|TIME (Hr:Min:Sec)||EVENT||Header Cell – Column 2|
|T+00:00:00||Lift-off||Line 0 – Cell 2|
|T+00:01:02||Falcon 9 to Max Q||Line 1 – Cell 2|
|T+00:02:26||1st floor MECO||Row 2 – Cell 2|
|T+00:02:29||Stage Separation||Line 3 – Cell 2|
|T+00:02:37||2nd stage main engine start||Row 4 – Cell 2|
|T+00:02:39||The 1st step boost back burn starts||Row 5 – Cell 2|
|T+00:03:28||Boost Back Burn Ends||Row 6 – Cell 2|
|T+00:06:25||1st Stage Entry Burn||Row 7 – Cell 2|
|T+00:07:31||1st floor landing burn||Line 8 – Cell 2|
|T+00:07:58||1st floor landing||Row 9 – Cell 2|
|T+00:08:47||2nd stage motor shutdown||Line 10 – Cell 2|
|T+00:11:58||Separation of the Dragon capsule||Row 11 – Cell 2|
|T+00:12:46||The dragon’s nose opens||Line 12 – Cell 2|
What if SpaceX’s Ax-2 mission couldn’t launch in time?
SpaceX has an instant window to launch the Ax-2 mission, so if it can’t lift off May 21 at 5:37 p.m. EDT for whatever reason, it will have to be delayed for at least one day.
There is a backup launch opportunity on Monday, May 22 at 5:14 p.m. EDT (21:14 GMT), which SpaceX could use to launch Ax-2 astronauts, but weather may be an issue. US Space Force officials said bad weather moving in early Monday means the launch has only a 20% chance of good flying conditions.
If SpaceX is unable to launch the Ax-2 mission for Axiom Space by May 22, the timeline becomes a little more complicated and may cause a long delay.
NASA currently expects SpaceX to launch an uncrewed device dragon spaceship on the CRS-28cargo mission on June 3, and plan to prioritize this mission if Ax-2 cannot take off this week. Meanwhile, SpaceX rival Boeing plans to launch its first crewed flight from its Starliner spacecraft in July, a mission also a priority for NASA.
“If we don’t leave on Sunday, Monday we’ll get together with NASA, Axiom and SpaceX and kind of go through the whole manifesto and see what the next launch opportunity is for the Axiom 2 mission,” said the NASA space. station manager Joel Montalbano said Saturday.