SpaceX’s next astronaut launch for NASA lifts off April 22. How to watch online.

NASA and SpaceX are preparing to send the second operational commercial crew mission to the International Space Station, and you can watch the preparations, launch and arrival live.

Crew-2 will include NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet. The quartet is expected to remain at the orbiting complex for six months.

Crew-2 is scheduled to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida at 6:11 a.m. EDT (1011 GMT) next Thursday (April 22), subject to mechanical and weather conditions. If everything goes to plan, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is expected to dock with the orbiting lab around 5:30 a.m. EDT (0930 GMT) on April 23. 

Related: Astronauts move SpaceX capsule to new docking port for 1st time

You can follow those big events live on this page and at here on Space.com, courtesy of NASA. You can also watch via NASA TV, the NASA App and the agency’s website and get updates from NASA’s social media feeds. Most KSC press and public facilities remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and only a small number of media will be on site.

Here’s a rundown of the Crew-2 media events that NASA and SpaceX plan to hold over the next week or so:

Thursday, April 15

NASA will hold a flight readiness review media teleconference at KSC beginning at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT) with the following participants:

  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations, NASA Headquarters
  • Steve Stich, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program, KSC
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
  • Norm Knight, deputy manager, Flight Operations Directorate, Johnson
  • SpaceX representative
  • Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station Program, JAXA
  • Frank de Winne, manager, International Space Station Program, ESA
  • Randy Repcheck, acting director, Operational Safety, Federal Aviation Administration

Friday, April 16

The Crew-2 astronauts will arrive at KSC at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) to be safely greeted — following strict quarantine protocols — by the following participants:

  • Steve Jurczyk, acting NASA administrator
  • Bob Cabana, center director, KSC
  • Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station Program, JAXA
  • Frank de Winne, manager, International Space Station Program, ESA
  • NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, spacecraft commander
  • NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, pilot
  • JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, mission specialist
  • ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, mission specialist

Saturday, April 17 

A virtual crew media engagement will take place at 9:45 a.m. EDT (1345 GMT) at KSC with the entire Crew-2 crew. Media will send in questions over the phone.

Monday, April 19

A science media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) will discuss the investigations on the mission, along with new solar array deployment. Participants include:

  • David Brady, associate program scientist for the International Space Station Program at JSC;
  • Liz Warren, ISS U.S. National Laboratory senior program director. Warren will discuss tissue engineering, “which uses a combination of cells, engineering, and materials to restore, maintain, improve or replace biological tissues,” according to NASA.
  • Lucie Low from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Low will discuss tissue chips, “complex bioengineered 3D models that mimic the structure and function of human organ systems,” according to NASA. 
  • William Stefanov, ISS program scientist for Earth observations;
  • Bryan Griffith (NASA Project Manager for ISS power augmentation) and Rick Golden (Boeing’s director for the ISS structural and mechanical development project) to discuss the deployment of two new solar arrays.

Tuesday, April 20

A prelaunch news conference at KSC that will take place no earlier than one hour after the launch readiness review completes (most likely in the afternoon or early evening. Participants include:

  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, KSC
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, JSC
  • Kirt Costello, chief scientist, International Space Station Program, JSC
  • Norm Knight, deputy manager, Flight Operations Directorate, JSC
  • Benji Reed, senior director, Human Spaceflight Programs, SpaceX
  • Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station Program, JAXA
  • Frank de Winne, manager, International Space Station Program, ESA
  • Brian Cizek, launch weather officer, U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron

Wednesday, April 21

A “countdown clock” briefing will take place at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) at KSC with very limited media participation. Participants include:

  • Steve Jurczyk, acting NASA administrator
  • Bob Cabana, KSC director
  • Hiroshi Sasaki, vice president and director general, JAXA’s Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate
  • Frank de Winne, manager, International Space Station Program, ESA
  • NASA astronaut, TBD
  • NASA astronaut, TBD

Thursday, April 22

NET 2 a.m. EDT (0600 GMT) – NASA TV launch coverage begins. 

NET 7:30 a.m (1130 GMT) Postlaunch news conference with the following participants:

  • Steve Jurczyk, acting NASA administrator
  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Hiroshi Sasaki, vice president and director general, JAXA’s Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate
  • Frank de Winne, manager, International Space Station Program, ESA
  • SpaceX representative, TBD

Friday, April 23

Approximately 5:30 a.m. EDT (0930 GMT) – Docking

Approximately 7:35 a.m. EDT (1135 GMT) – Hatch Opening

Approximately 8:05 a.m. EDT (1205 GMT) – Welcome ceremony from the International Space Station with the following participants on Earth:

  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Hiroshi Yamakawa, president, JAXA
  • Josef Aschbacher, director general, ESA

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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