NASA and SpaceX Are Sending Astronauts to Space on Thursday—And You Can Watch
This Earth Day, April 22, at 6:11 a.m. four astronauts will leave this planet and head to the International Space Station from Florida's Kennedy Space Center. It's an historic moment since NASA is sending their crew to the stars on a ship made by a private company, specifically the SpaceX Crew 2, a Dragon capsule spacecraft. This is only the second joint mission of NASA and SpaceX.
NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough will be joined aboard the ship by Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the European Space Agency's Thomas Pesquet. All four astronauts are veteran space travelers, a fact that Pesquet noted in a tweet in March, "I don't mean to show off but this crew might have the most combined experience in spaceflight history!"
If you want to watch that decorated crew head to the stars, space fans can watch the launch from viewing areas near Port Canaveral. Be aware though that Port authorities are expecting a crowd. "Human spaceflight has historically generated tremendous public interest here on the Space Coast, and we know that our Port is a 'front seat' to that experience," Port CEO Capt. John Murray said in a statement. "We continue to work with state and local agencies to address some of the public's demand while maintaining our continued focus on public health and safety."
If you want to watch the fun, make sure the launch hasn't been pushed back due to mechanical or weather conditions. Then, bring a mask and remember to socially distance from other fans. Port Canaveral highly recommends using the Waze app on your smartphone to stay up-to-date on traffic changes around popular viewing areas. They also want space enthusiasts to brace themselves for limited public parking at Port Canaveral on launch day and to remember to purchase Jetty Park parking passes online prior to arriving at the park. They underlined and italicized "prior to" in the press release, so they clearly mean business. For more information head here.
How exciting! 3, 2, 1, blast off!