SpaceX is slated to send its first full astronaut crew to space on Saturday. Watch it live.

  • SpaceX is scheduled to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station on Saturday at 7:49 p.m. ET. 
  • Called Crew-1, it's SpaceX's first full-length mission for NASA.
  • Here's how to watch the rocket launch live.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

SpaceX has secured its Crew Dragon spaceship to the top of a Falcon 9 rocket, and the launch system is ready to roar to life. On Saturday, the company is scheduled to send a crew of four NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

The mission, called Crew-1, will be SpaceX's first full-length mission for NASA — the first of six that Elon Musk's rocket company has contracted with the space agency. The launch will also mark the true start of NASA's commercial spaceflight program, a milestone nearly 10 years in the making. 

The launch is scheduled for 7:49 p.m. ET on Saturday, from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi, will be on board the Crew Dragon space capsule. The spaceship is slated to dock at the International Space Station about eight-and-a-half hours after it launches.

Then the team is expected to stay on the ISS for six months – making their mission the longest human spaceflight ever launched from the US.

"We are ready for this launch. We are ready for the six months of work that is waiting for us on board the International Space Station, and we are ready for the return," NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, who will command the mission, told reporters in a call on Monday.

Watch the Crew-1 launch live

If the weather is good this weekend and everything goes smoothly during pre-launch checks, nine Merlin engines will lift the Falcon 9 rocket — with SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship on top — off the launch pad on Saturday. Once the rocket's first-stage booster has burned most of its fuel, it will fall away and land on a drone ship. The rocket's second stage will continue on, helping propel the ship into orbit and toward the ISS.

NASA plans to broadcast the launch and docking live via NASA TV. The crew should arrive at the launch pad just before 5 p.m. ET. You can watch via embedded video stream below.

The Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock with the ISS starting at about 4:20 a.m. ET.

Here's the full timeline of launch events on Saturday


  • 4:54:49 PM – Crew arrives at launch pad
  • 5:14:49 PM – Crew begins boarding
  • 5:29:49 PM – Communication check
  • 5:35:49 PM – Suit leak checks
  • 5:54:49 PM – Hatch close


  • 7:14:49 PM – Rocket fuel loading begins
  • 7:42:49 PM – Falcon 9's engine gets chilled prior to launch
  • 7:44:49 PM – Dragon transitions to internal power
  • 7:48:49 PM – Command flight computer begins final prelaunch checks
  • 7:49:04 PM – SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
  • 7:49:46 PM – Engine controller starts engine ignition sequence
  • 7:49:49 PM – Liftoff


  • 7:50:47 PM – Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
  • 7:52:26 PM – Main engines shut down
  • 7:52:29 PM – First and second stages separate
  • 7:52:37 PM – Second-stage engine ignites, propelling Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon toward low-Earth orbit
  • 7:57:18 PM – First-stage rocket entry burn in upper atmosphere
  • 7:58:39 PM – Second-stage engine cuts off 
  • 7:58:48 PM – First-stage rocket entry burn in lower atmosphere
  • 7:59:18 PM – First-stage rocket lands
  • 8:01:52 PM – Crew Dragon capsule separates from second stage 
  • 8:02:37 PM – Open sequence for Crew Dragon's protective nose cone begins (the nose cone will eventually detach from the ship)

'The next era in human spaceflight'

Although Crew-1 will be SpaceX's first full-length mission, the company launched people into orbit earlier this year. In May, SpaceX flew NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS for a demonstration mission called Demo-2.

Following a smooth launch and docking, the astronauts stayed on the space station for 63 days. Then they took a fiery plunge through Earth's atmosphere in the Crew Dragon before splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico. 

"It felt like we were inside of an animal," Behnken said of the 17,500-mph dive. 

Prior to that mission, astronauts had not flown to space from US soil since 2011, when NASA ended its Space Shuttle program. In 2010, the agency began funding the Commercial Crew Program, a competition between private companies meant to spur a new commercial spaceflight industry. The government has spent over $6 billion on Commercial Crew since it began, according to The Planetary Society. 

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine hailed Demo-2 as evidence of the Commercial Crew Program's success.

"This is the next era in human spaceflight, where NASA gets to be the customer," Bridenstine said in August. 

Dave Mosher and Morgan McFall-Johnsen contributed reporting.

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