SpaceX is counting down to launching its second fully private mission to the International Space Station today (May 21), and if you’re hoping to catch it online, you’ll need to know when it actually takes off.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch four astronauts on the Axiom Space Ax-2 mission to the space station from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The 10-day mission is being piloted by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, with Agent John Shoffner as pilot and Saudi Arabia’s first astronauts, Ali Al-Qarni and Rayana Bernawi, completing the crew.
You can follow the launch live on the Ax-2 Mission Updates page and watch the 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 for Axiom Space 5:37 PM EST (2137 GMT) of Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the site the company uses for all human spaceflight missions.
The launch has an “immediate window,” which means that SpaceX must launch at that time in order to reach the International Space Station on schedule and cannot count down. If SpaceX should delay for any reason, the company can try again on Monday, May 22, at 5:14 PM EST (2114 GMT).
Related: Meet the four astronauts on Axiom Space’s Ax-2 mission
Can I watch the Ax-2 astronaut launch online?
Yes. NASA, SpaceX and Axiom Space will present a series of live webcasts for the public to follow the Ax-2 launch live. You can watch the SpaceX Ax-2 launch online in a SpaceX’s SpaceX simulcast of that webcast.
SpaceX’s webcast will begin 2:10 PM EST (1810 GMT) and running through take off. You can find it at SpaceX’s Ax-2 mission page And YouTube channel. The company will also provide an audio-only feed from its launch center in Florida and Mission Control Center in Hawthorne, California.
The Axiom Space launch webcast starts at the same time and may be a simulcast. It will be broadcast live Axiom YouTube channel. Axiom Space also said it would provide a live broadcast in Arabic for Saudi Arabia viewers watching the launch.
The NASA webcast will begin at 4:30 PM EST (2030 GMT) Covering the last hour of pre-launch and take-off operations. will be broadcast on the NASA YouTube channel and NASATV.
How long does SpaceX’s Ax-2 astronaut launch?
From liftoff to spacecraft separation, SpaceX’s Ax-2 mission launch should last just under a little less than that 13 minutesbut the task itself will last longer.
Axiom Space astronauts will fly from Axiom Space in a vehicle task for 10 days to the International Space Station and are expected to spend eight of those days actually living and working aboard the space station, where they will conduct 20 different science research papers amid other missions and outreach events. it will take 15 hours for the Dragon capsule, named Freedom, to reach the space station at Monday 22 May.
SpaceX’s final hour before launch includes a series of critical tasks to get the rocket ready to fly. This is the timeline that SpaceX will follow to get to liftoff, including fueling the Falcon 9 rocket with RP-1 rocket-class fuel and liquid oxygen (LOX) fuel.
Related: The astronauts’ own Ax-2 mission will grow the first stem cells in space
|time (hour: minute: second)||It happened||Head cell – column 2|
|T-00:45:00||Launch manager gives “go” to refuel||Row 0 – cell 2|
|T-00:42:00||Armed with a dragon launch escape system||Row 1 – cell 2|
|T-00:35:00||The RP-1 refueling begins||Row 2 – cell 2|
|T-00:35:00||The first stage of LOX fueling begins||Row 3 – cell 2|
|T-00: 16:00||The second stage of the LOX fuel supply begins||Row 4 – cell 2|
|T-00: 7:00||Falcon 9 engine cooldown||Row 5 – cell 2|
|T-00:05:00||Dragon on inner strength||Row 6 – cell 2|
|T-00:01:00||fuel tank pressure for the trip||Row 7 – cell 2|
|T-00:01:00||Lead final PC scans||Row 8 – cell 2|
|T-00:00:45||GO’s ultimate launch of the launch outlet||Row 9 – cell 2|
|T-00:00:03||The engine ignition sequence begins||Row 10 – cell 2|
|T-00:00:00||Leaves||Row 11 – cell 2|
One of the Falcon 9 rockets carrying the Ax-2 mission lifts off as the 13-minute journey into orbit begins. Here’s a summary of how that worked for this flight, including the first and second stage main engine cut-offs (MECO).
|time (hour: minute: second)||It happened||Head cell – column 2|
|T+00:00:00||Leaves||Row 0 – cell 2|
|T+00:01:02||Falcon 9 at Max Q||Row 1 – cell 2|
|T+00:02:26||Phase I MECO||Row 2 – cell 2|
|T+00:02:29||phase separation||Row 3 – cell 2|
|T+00:02:37||Starting the main engine in the second stage||Row 4 – cell 2|
|T+00:02:39||The strengthening of the first stage begins with the burning of the back||Row 5 – cell 2|
|T+00:03:28||Strengthen back burning ends||Row 6 – cell 2|
|T+00:06:25||Burn entering the first stage||Row 7 – cell 2|
|T+00:07:31||First stage combustion for descent||Row 8 – cell 2|
|T+00:07:58||First stage descent||Row 9 – cell 2|
|T+00:08:47||The second stage of cutting the engine||Row 10 – cell 2|
|T+00:11:58||Dragon capsule separation||Row 11 – cell 2|
|T+00:12:46||The dragon nosecone opens||Row 12 – cell 2|
What if SpaceX’s Ax-2 mission can’t launch on time?
SpaceX has an immediate window to launch the Ax-2 mission, so if you can’t take off on May 21 at 5:37 p.m. EST For whatever reason, it must be at least one day late.
Backup opportunity exists Monday, May 22 at 5:14 PM EST (2114 GMT)SpaceX could use it to launch Ax-2 astronauts, but weather could be a concern. A move in bad weather early Monday means the launch has only a 20% chance of good conditions for flight, US Space Force officials said.
If SpaceX is unable to launch the Axiom Space mission by May 22, the schedule becomes more complex and could lead to a long delay.
NASA currently expects SpaceX to launch the uncrewed Dragon spacecraft on the CRS-28 Cargo mission on June 3, and plans to prioritize that mission if Ax-2 is unable to launch this week. Meanwhile, SpaceX rival Boeing plans the first crewed flight of its Starliner spacecraft in July, a mission that is also a top priority for NASA.
“If we don’t go down on Sunday, on Monday we’ll meet with NASA and Axiom and SpaceX and kind of look at the whole statement and see what the next opportunity is to launch the Axiom 2 mission,” NASA space station manager Joel Montalbano said Saturday.
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