How to watch SpaceX launch: liftoff time for the live stream and weather
Weather update: There’s a 50/50 chance you’ll be able to watch the SpaceX launch live stream to the very end of the countdown today. The weather conditions don’t look good right now, with rain on the launchpad, but the good news is that the weather is scheduled to clear up by the SpaceX launch time of 3:22pm EDT (local time in Florida). Stay tuned for more updates.
How the watch the SpaceX launch today, Saturday, March 360, isn’t rocket science – it’s rather easy thanks to the live stream liftoff video embedded below.
Today’s historic SpaceX launch time is 3:22pm EDT (more time zones detailed further below) and the video is streaming live right now. The spacecraft will lift off today – weather permitting – returning American NASA astronauts to space from US soil for the first time since 2011.
You can watch the SpaceX live stream, with preparations well underway. The actual launch happens in less than three hours, according to the official NASA countdown.
Right now, however, there’s a lot to going into this weekend’s SpaceX liftoff, including loading NASA astronauts into the Dragon capsule (that just happened), while they’re wearing their SpaceX-designed suits. The live stream commentary is also brilliant, insightful and inspiring regarding the future of commercial space travel.
Here’s how to watch the SpaceX launch live stream via YouTube:
It’s a bit of deja vu if you watched the SpaceX live stream this past Wednesday. A lot of the same procedures are in place. If this Saturday March 30 launch gets scrubbed, it’ll be another repeat when a launch window opens up again in the future.
Today’s delayed SpaceX Demo-2 mission remains historic, as it’s happening at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. It’s the first such launch on US soil in nearly a decade – since NASA retired the Space Shuttle nine years ago. It’s also the first time that a SpaceX reusable spacecraft will be sending NASA astronauts into space. It’s the birth of commercially-backed human space travel.
The destination of this SpaceX launch is the International Space Station (ISS) for a one- to four-month duration for NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, according to our friends over at Space.com.
You, of course, may have more questions. What time is the SpaceX live streaming starting in your region of the world? What’s happened during the whole prep process that I missed? And who are the two NASA astronauts?
We have all of those answers below, as we wait for the SpaceX countdown – again.
SpaceX launch time for Saturday, March 30
The official Demo-2 SpaceX launch time is today, Saturday, May 30 at 3:22pm EDT, so the times across the continental US will be 2:22pm CDT / 1:22pm MDT / 12:22pm PDT. You may want to show up a couple of minutes ahead of time to take in the glory of the rocket lighting up and clouds of smoke surrounding the launch pad.
The UK SpaceX launch time is 20:22 BST. In addition to tuning into the video live stream, you should go outside soon afterward and see if you can catch a glimpse of the SpaceX-built spacecraft in the night sky at around 20:40 BST.
In Australia, it’ll already be Sunday morning, with the new launch time occurring at 5:22am AEST. You’ll have to wake up a bit earlier to catch this weekend’s rescheduled SpaceX launch.
SpaceX launch weather concerns delayed first liftoff
“The weather got us,” admitted NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine in a somber 30-second Twitter video on Wednesday. “I know there was a lot of disappointment today.”
Bridenstine went on to explain the reasoning behind what we all saw: the SpaceX launch was scrubbed just 17 minutes inside the launch window, with NASA hanging on until the last minutes in an effort to save its efforts. The weather didn’t cooperate.
NASA has strict weather rules for clearing spacecraft launches and noted that three weather violations existed, including the chance of the craft triggering ‘natural lightning’. If they would have been able to wait ten minutes beyond the countdown, they could have cleared those three violations, according to SpaceX and NASA officials.
Waiting even ten minutes wasn’t an option, though. This launch was what’s known as an ‘instantaneous launch window’, meaning due orbital mechanics a delay wasn’t possible if the crew wanted to get to the International Space Station (ISS) on time and lock in accurately. Blame Newtown’s law of universal gravity, if you’d like.
The good news is that everything technical with the SpaceX craft and NASA crew was ‘go for liftoff’ on Wednesday when the hatch door successfully closed. So as long as this weekend’s weather cooperates and doesn’t trigger NASA’s risk calculations, the mission will happen on Saturday. Weather was the only concern, according to NASA during the live stream wrap-up.
Even with all of the exceptional planning ahead of this SpaceX launch, NASA and SpaceX can’t control the weather (not yet anyway). Florida, while normally sunny, does have frequent quick-moving thunderstorms (anyone who has ever visited nearby Disney World knows that), and that’s what the crew faced Wednesday.
.@AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug arrive at historic Launch Complex 39A → https://t.co/bJFjLCzWdK pic.twitter.com/EZATwbKWfAMay 30, 2020
The SpaceX launch live stream had constant chatter from operators discussing rain conditions. They waited until a few minutes before the countdown expired to scrub the mission, hoping to pull it off. They got to T-minus 17 minutes before making the final decision. Saturday, May 30 will be the next launch date for the SpaceX launch.
Another weather variable is the fact that the weather conditions need to be good everywhere this spacecraft might be. For example, if the crew had to abort anywhere along their ascent and come down, recovery crews would need to access the capsule, so it’s more than just the immediate Florida launchpad that needs ideal weather.
How to watch the SpaceX launch on Saturday
The official NASA and SpaceX YouTube accounts will be offering a live stream of the preparations, which they noted will feel like deja vu if you had already tuned in for the Wednesday launch.
We have the YouTube video embedded (at the top of the page) that is now¸ live. You won’t have to travel very far. And don’t worry, you don’t have to tune into both the NASA and SpaceX live stream videos – they’re offering the same content across the two live streams,
On Wednesday, we saw SpaceX founder Elon Musk visit suited-up astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken and exchange a few words before liftoff time. Sadly, there was no audio during this portion of the live stream.
Musk then greeted US Vice President Mike Pence, who is there to watch the launch, while President Donald Trump joined soon after. Hurley and Behnken traveled to the launch site in a Tesla Model X (Tesla being another company Musk founded).
The moment @SpaceX founder @elonmusk gives NASA’s @AstroBehnken & @Astro_Doug the keys to the Dragon 2. #SpaceLaunchLIVE #SpaceXDragon pic.twitter.com/nHb1uCVR9uMay 27, 2020
NASA continued to monitor the weather via data sensors around the launch site in an effort to get everything into ‘the green position’ on their maps. At the time, NASA said, “the weather is trending in the right direction,” but as the countdown got to T-minus 17 minutes, favorability went the other direction.
This meant that the crew was seated in the capsule after crossing the crew access arm, and the crew arm had already retracted. Steam started to come off of the rocket before the launch was called off. It was that close to liftoff.
SpaceX spacecraft, SpaceX suits and NASA astronauts
Now that it’s Saturday, astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are back inside the small Dragon capsule, which sits atop the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It’s situated on a launch pad at legendary Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida’s Cape Canaveral.
LC-39A was originally built for the Apollo missions and remodeled for the Space Shuttle program. Now it’s home to the first space flight to send astronauts into space using a private aerospace company.
Hurley (the spacecraft commander) and Behnken (the joint operations commander) are NASA astronauts, engineers and both former members of US military (Hurley is a former marine, while Behnken was in the US Air Force).
The two-man NASA crew will not only be flying in a SpaceX-built spacecraft, but also outfitted in SpaceX pressurized suits, first shown off in 2017. They’re back suited up again for Saturday’s SpaceX launch.