SpaceX to launch Crew-8 astronauts to the space station March 1: Watch live

What time is the Crew-8 launch?

SpaceX is poised to launch three astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut to the International Space Station (ISS) this week on the company’s Crew-8 mission for NASA.

The crew members’ spacecraft, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavor, will ride atop a Falcon 9 rocket from the historic Launch Complex-39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Liftoff is currently scheduled for no earlier than Friday, March 1 at 12:04 a.m. EST (0504 GMT).

Crew-8 includes NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick (mission commander), Michael Barratt (mission pilot), Jeanette Epps (mission specialist) and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin (mission specialist). The quartet will spend roughly six months aboard the orbital lab, taking part in over 200 research investigations and tending to space station maintenance.

Can I watch the Crew-8 launch online?

NASA’s broadcast of the Crew-8 launch coverage will begin Thursday (Feb. 29) at 8 p.m. EST (0100 GMT, Mar. 1), and will be available here at Space.com.

Coverage of Crew-8’s ride to orbit will involve checkpoints beginning with Falcon 9’s main booster returned to SpaceX’s landing zone at Cape Canaveral and culminating in the release of Endeavor from Falcon 9’s second stage. Following the spacecraft’s orbital insertion, the Crew Dragon coverage will then switch to an audio-only feed until the beginning of the rendezvous and docking broadcast. 

Approximately two hours after liftoff, NASA is expected to hold a post-launch news conference. The early-morning mission check-in will include NASA’s commercial crew program manager Steve Stich and ISS program manager Joel Montalbano, as well as SpaceX director of Dragon mission management Sarah Walker.

This is Montalbano’s final crewed mission as ISS program manager. Continuing his service to NASA, Montalbano has been promoted to NASA’s deputy associate administer of space operations. NASA announced that Dana Weigel will begin as ISS program manager April 7; Weigel will be the first woman to hold the role.

Docking Coverage

Once in orbit, Crew-8 will spend a little more than 24 hours catching up to the ISS. 

Rendezvous coverage is scheduled to begin at 5 a.m. EST (1000 GMT), Saturday (Mar. 2), about two hours before docking is expected to take place. Crew Dragon Endeavor is slated to dock to the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module. Hatch opening will occur about two hours later, after which the current space station crew will come together with members of the newly-arrived Crew-8 for a welcome ceremony — a long-standing tradition whenever astronauts first come aboard the ISS.

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Crew-8’s arrival will also mark the imminent departure of the station’s Crew-7 astronauts. NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa and cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov launched to the ISS aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endurance in August. They’ll soon be wrapping up their own six-month stay.

Source: Space.com

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