SpaceX Crew Dragon launch: How to watch the historic test flight tonight

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																	NASA will spend $42 million to better understand space weather					
								
			
	
		Mike Wehner			@MikeWehner

Space NASA will spend $42 million to better understand space weather Mike Wehner @MikeWehner

The Crew Dragon capsule, which is designed for astronauts, will not be carrying any human crew when it makes its journey to the International Space Station.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft is rolled out to Launch Complex 39A for a dry run to prep for the upcoming Demo-1 flight test at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on January 3, 2019.

Elon Musk's SpaceX was due to launch an unmanned crew capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket early on Saturday bound for the International Space Station, a major step toward NASA's goal of reviving the US human spaceflight program this year.

The six-day test flight is a crucial step in SpaceX's plan to provide human spaceflight. I guarantee you everything will not work exactly right. And eight engines are built into the capsule walls for use in an emergency; these abort engines could shoot the capsule off a malfunctioning rocket anytime during the launch.

The life-size test dummy Ripley-wearing SpaceX's slick new spacesuit-is strapped into one of the capsule's seats. SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk wants Dragon riders looking sharp and 21st century, just like their new, white, sleek spaceship.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen after being raised into a vertical position on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A February 28, 2019.

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"The uncrewed flight tests are a great dry run for not only our hardware, but for our team to get ready for our crewed flight tests", Kathy Lueders, manager of the commercial crew program, said in a news release.

This mission is a night owl's dream, with most of the big events happening in the wee hours.

Assuming liftoff proceeds as scheduled early Saturday, the Crew Dragon spacecraft, carrying a few hundred pounds of supplies and the space-suited Ripley - named after the heroine in the sci-fi thriller "Alien" - will autonomously rendezvous with the International Space Station early Sunday.

The Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE) mission will cost $42 million and is planned to launch in August 2022, attached to the exterior of the Earth-orbiting International Space Station (ISS), the United States space agency said in a statement on Tuesday.

NASA expects a gentle splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off of Cape Canaveral, Florida at around 8:45 a.m. ET. NASA announced the upcoming launch earlier this week, and now it is back with a full launch schedule.

"Space weather is important because it can have profound impacts-affecting technology and astronauts in space, disrupting radio communications and, at its most severe, overwhelming power grids", says NASA. Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX's vice president of build and flight reliability, shied away from calling the test device a dummy. The mission will help pave the way for the first commercial crew launch this summer. It's a milestone moment for American space exploration, marking the first test launch from U.S. soil involving a commercially-built and operated American spacecraft/rocket system intended for crewed missions. Hurley will ride the Dragon and Ferguson the Starliner.

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