Nov 15, 2020 - Science

Watch as SpaceX launches a new crew to orbit for NASA

A Falcon 9 rocket on the pad ahead of launch

The Falcon 9 rocket standing on the pad during a test. Photo: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Four astronauts are set to launch to the International Space Station on Sunday aboard a SpaceX capsule.

Why it matters: This flight will be the company's second crewed launch for NASA and is expected to be the first of many regular flights to the station, helping end the space agency's reliance on Russian rockets for crewed missions.

Where it stands: The Falcon 9 rocket carrying NASA's Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker, Victor Glover and Japan's Soichi Noguchi is expected to take flight from Florida at 7:27pm ET.

What's next: If all goes according to plan and the mission launches on time, the four astronauts are expected to dock to the space station on Monday.

The big picture: As NASA plans for this launch, the space agency's past failures are never far from the minds of the people on the ground responsible for making sure that this mission succeeds.

  • "I was there through Columbia too ... and what you learn is, you have to be vigilant," NASA's head of human spaceflight Kathryn Lueders said during a press conference ahead of launch. "You have to make sure that you're listening to the data."

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to say that the astronauts will dock with the space station on Monday, not Sunday.

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