A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule is currently flying NASA’s second all-private mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
Following a successful launch from the Kennedy Space Center aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday afternoon, Americans Peggy Whitson and John Shoffner, together with Saudi Arabians Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi, are set to reach the orbital laboratory on Monday morning ET.
Whitson is a retired NASA astronaut who now works for Axiom Space, which is organizing the current Ax-2 mission. Shoffner is a businessman and investor who’s paying his own way to orbit, while Alqarni and Barnawi are funded by the Saudi Space Commission and will be the first people from their country to visit the ISS.
NASA will live stream the arrival of the crew, including the autonomous approach, docking, and welcoming ceremony conducted by the seven astronauts currently living and working aboard the ISS.
The four crewmembers will stay aboard the station for eight days before returning home for a splashdown off the coast of Florida.
“Congratulations to Axiom, SpaceX, and the Axiom Mission 2 crew on a successful launch,” NASA chief Bill Nelson said on Sunday. “During their time aboard the International Space Station, the Ax-2 astronauts will carry out more than 20 scientific experiments, helping us better understand space radiation, weather in low-gravity conditions, and more. This mission is more proof of NASA’s commitment to help our industry partners develop the next generation of space technology and a support a growing commercial space economy.”
How to watch:
NASA will begin its coverage at 7:30 a.m. ET on Monday, May 22, with experts on hand to explain the finer points of the arrival process taking place about 250 miles above Earth.
Viewers will get to see the Crew Dragon docking autonomously with the space station’s Harmony module at about 9:16 a.m. ET.
This will be followed by the hatch opening at around 11:13 a.m. ET and the welcoming ceremony at around 11:45 a.m. ET.
You can watch the coverage via the player embedded at the top of this page, or by visiting NASA’s website.
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