Watch this space tonight. Sorry, that space.
Tonight, you’ll be able to catch a very special sight indeed.
Yes, a rocket carrying astronauts will be visible in UK skies tonight, meaning we can all catch a glimpse from our own homes. The historic Demo-2 manned mission from SpaceX and NASA is sending passengers from America to the International Space Station (ISS).
Billionaire Elon Musk’s company SpaceX are combining with space giants NASA for the first launch of NASA astronauts on a commercial spacecraft. It is also the first set of astronauts launched into space from US soil in nine years.
The Falcon 9 rocket will take off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, beginning a 19-hour voyage to the International Space Station. The so-called Crew Dragon spacecraft will feature two NASA astronauts; Robert Behnken, 48, and Douglas Hurley, 53. Upon arrival at the ISS, the astronauts will spend somewhere between one and four months living and working.
Falcon 9 is due to take off at 4:33pm EDT (9.33pm GMT), meaning we should be able to watch in awe about fifteen minutes later, at approximately 9.45-9.50pm.
“As the Spacecraft passes over the UK, we may see just the one or a collection of objects looking like bright stars moving across the sky,” said Meteorwatch. “The sky will be fairly light for some especially for observers in places in the north such as Scotland. The craft should be bright enough to follow once you catch a glimpse of it.”
This mission is acting as a demonstration for SpaceX to prove their ability to safely ship astronauts to and from the International Space Station. If successful, they may be certified by NASA’s programme to carry out long-term manned missions to space.
So, remember to look out for the rocket in a westerly direction tonight at around 9.45pm.
You can also catch the launch live online here, courtesy of NASA TV, with coverage starting at 4pm GMT.