Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 August 2020

SpaceX tracker: how to follow the Crew Dragon rocket's flight to space station

The mission, dubbed 'Demo-2,' ends a government monopoly on space flight

Two veteran Nasa astronauts were headed for the International Space Station on Sunday after Elon Musk's SpaceX became the first commercial company to launch a rocket carrying humans into orbit, ushering in a new era in space travel.

Astronauts Robert Behnken, 49, and Douglas Hurley, 53, former military test pilots who joined NASA in 2000, are scheduled to dock with the space station at 10:29am local time (1429 GMT) on Sunday.

They will join US astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner aboard the ISS.

Here's how you can track its progress:

You can see the ISS' location and speed here, while this link provides live high-definition views of Earth from the space station.

You can also check the website Heavens Above to track the flight, which also provides sighting times for your specific location.

SpaceX's two-stage Falcon 9 rocket aboard blasted off flawlessly in a cloud of bright orange flames and smoke from Florida's Kennedy Space Center for a 19-hour voyage to the space station.

"Let's light this candle," Mr Hurley, the mission commander, told SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California, before liftoff at 3:22 pm (1922 GMT) from NASA's storied Launch Pad 39A.

The SpaceX launch is the first of American astronauts from US soil since the space shuttle program ended in 2011 and the first crewed flight ever by a private company.

"I'm really quite overcome with emotion," Mr Musk said. "It's been 18 years working towards this goal.

"This is hopefully the first step on a journey towards civilisation on Mars," the SpaceX founder said.

Updated: May 31, 2020 11:29 AM

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