What is the launch time today for SpaceX Inspiration4 in Florida?
Inspiration4, SpaceX’s all-civilian mission into orbit, is just minutes away from launch.
The launch window opens at 1am on Thursday morning UK time, or 8pm local eastern time. It is open for five hours, meaning that it will be delayed if the team are not able to fit in that window.
SpaceX has provided a live stream of the launch, which can be found at the top of this page.
After launch, the team will fly higher in orbit than any human since the Space Shuttle, spending three days in space conducting experiments and experiencing Earth at a distance. They will then fall back down to Earth, landing in the ocean for a splashdown.
If the mission is a success, it will mark a major step forward for space tourism, and for Elon Musk et EspaceX’s plans to make it accessible to anyone with the money to fund a rocket and spacecraft to carry them to orbit.
Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon separate
Three minutes in and we’ve seen the first stage separation followed by ignition of the second stage.
The Falcon 9 will now return to Earth to land on a drone ship.
It couldn’t be going more smoothly.
“Everything continues to look nominal,” SpaceX says.
We have lift off!
Inspiration4 has lifted off!
T-Minus 1 minute
Juste 60 seconds left to go…
What to expect following launch of SpaceX Inspiration4 launch
Here’s a handy diagram from SpaceX showing what to expect after lift off.
After Falcon 9 separates from Crew Dragon, the rocket booster returns to Earth and lands autonomously on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean (where it will be refurbished for reuse).
The Crew Dragon capsule continues into orbit. Only the second stage booster is unable to be recovered.
Final message for Inspiration4 crew
The final message from ground control to the Inspiration4 crew comes through: “Good luck, God speed, and enjoy the ride.”
‘Everything still looking good’ for SpaceX launch
With just over 10 minutes to go, all is still going to plan.
With the propellent loaded, there is no restarting the countdown, however they can still put it on hold if there are any issues. There is also a backup launch window tomorrow, though hopefully it won’t need to be used.
“Everything is still looking good for launch of Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon,” SpaceX says.
T-Minus 15 minutes
Juste 900 seconds to go…
SpaceX Inspiration4 systems checks continue
The sky is beginning to darken in Florida, with just 20 minutes to go until launch time.
Systems checks are continuing, as propellent is loaded into the Falcon 9 fusée.
SpaceX launch escape system armed
The launch escape system has been armed, as is procedure.
It’s a reminder that there are still risks during the launch. By far the most dangerous parts of any space missions are the launch and landing.
Successes are far more common than failures these days, but they are not assured. We’ve put together a couple of graphics showing how the orbital launch rate is back on the ascendency following the post-Space Race dip.
And also how the orbital launch success rate has changed since the 1950s.