Tracking the Crew Dragon: Liftoff

NASA and SpaceX's historic mission has officially launched.

With today’s Crew Dragon liftoff, NASA astronauts have officially launched from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a Crew Dragon capsule affixed to it launched from Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 39A at 3:22 p.m. EDT, kicking off the Demo-2 mission. The launch was originally scheduled for May 27, but was postponed due to unfavorable weather conditions.

NASA astronauts Robert “Bob” Behnken and Douglas “Doug” Hurley are currently aboard the spacecraft, which is expected to dock with the International Space Station at approximately 10:29 a.m. EDT tomorrow, May 31.

With the Crew Dragon liftoff, SpaceX became the first private company to send astronauts into space. If all goes well with this mission, the company will be cleared to ferry NASA astronauts to and from the ISS — marking the culmination of the decade-long Commercial Crew Program.

You can see photos and video of the Crew Dragon liftoff below — be sure to return to Freethink for updates on the Demo-2 mission’s docking with the ISS and return to Earth.

NASA astronauts Robert “Bob” Behnken and Douglas “Doug” Hurley the morning of the Crew Dragon launch. SpaceX / Twitter
The SpaceX Falcon 9 with Crew Dragon attached just prior to liftoff. NASA / YouTube
The Falcon 9 lifting off with the Crew Dragon from Cape Canaveral. SpaceX
The Falcon 9 lifting off from Cape Canaveral. NASA / YouTube
The Falcon 9 with the Crew Dragon soon after liftoff. SpaceX
The view of the launch from the Launch Control Center. NASA / Joel Kowsky
T-Minus Weekly: Victus Nox, a record-breaking ISS mission, and more
Freethink’s weekly countdown of the biggest developments in space, featuring the launch of Victus Nox, a record-breaking mission, and more.
T-Minus Weekly: The end of O2 on Mars and the week’s other big space stories
Freethink’s weekly countdown of the biggest developments in space, featuring the launch of XRISM, the end of MOXIE, and more.
NASA finishes the first experiment to make oxygen on Mars
NASA has officially wrapped up the Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE), which was the first tech to generate oxygen on Mars.
SpinLaunch will hurl payloads into orbit, cutting the cost of launch by 20x
Rockets are big because they require enormous amounts of fuel. SpinLaunch’s method does away with much of that by hurling payloads into space.
NASA is spending $850,000 to make a bag for space trash
TransAstra has secured a $850,000 NASA contract to build an inflatable bag for capturing space trash, which could then be recycled in orbit.
Up Next
SpaceX Launch
Subscribe to Freethink for more great stories