When Does SpaceX Launch NASA Astronauts to ISS? How to Watch Crew-2 Mission Live Stream

SpaceX is due to launch four NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday, and the event will be livestreamed.

The mission, known as Crew-2, could launch as early as 6:11 a.m. EDT on Thursday morning. It will be livestreamed on the NASA TV YouTube channel at that time, though coverage of the mission is currently scheduled to begin much earlier at 2:30 a.m.

SpaceX is also due to share a live feed of the mission on its official website around four hours before liftoff, and usually also shares one on Twitter.

The Crew-2 mission will be the first time humans have flown on a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule that have both flown before. All four astronauts have been to space in the past.

Included among them is Shane Kimbrough, commander of the mission and of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft that will ferry the astronauts.

Megan McArthur, the second-in-command, will pilot the spacecraft. It is the first time she will go to the space station. In 2009, she spent nearly 13 days aboard the space shuttle Atlantis on a mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

For Akihiko Hoshide, an astronaut from Japan's JAXA space agency, the mission will be his third time aboard the ISS. He last went there in 2012, where he served as a flight engineer for 124 days. Prior to that, he flew to the ISS in 2008 to deliver a Japanese experiment module to the station.

Thomas Pesquet is a European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut and has spent a total of 196 days in space.

The astronauts will lift off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a Dragon capsule on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX says it is targeting a launch window on Thursday, April 22 which will begin at 6:11 EDT.

The space company said a backup launch window would start at 5:49 a.m. EDT on Friday.

If the Thursday launch goes ahead, the Crew-2 team will dock with the International Space Station at around 5:30 a.m. on Friday.

The crew will stay aboard the ISS until at least October 31, before undocking and returning to Earth for a splash landing in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.

Falcon 9
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft seen prior to the launch of the Demo-2 mission on May 30, 2020, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Falcon 9 is SpaceX's workhorse rocket. Joel Kowsky/NASA/Getty