SpaceX launch LIVE updates: What time and how to watch the NASA mission?

SPACEX will tonight make a second attempt to launch two NASA astronauts on a mission to the International Space Station.

The mission, dubbed Demo-2, is set to liftoff from the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 8:23pm BST (3:23 pm ET) TONIGHT – Saturday May 30.

A Falcon 9 rocket will blast into space from Launch Complex 39a – the same launchpad used during the historic Apollo 11 Moon landings.

If the attempt proves successful, it would be the first crewed spaceflight to take off from US soil in nearly a decade.

It will also be the first time ever a privately developed spacecraft has launched humans into space.

This will be the first time that astronauts launched into space from US soil since 2011.

The original launch window was May 27 at 9:33pm BST (4:33pm ET) but the launch was cancelled because of the weather.

As with Wednesday's attempt, the Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron will analyse the forecast and give either a red or green light.

Follow out live blog below for all the latest news and updates.

  • Wednesday's liftoff was cancelled…

    … with just 17 minutes on the clock to the dismay of space fans and live-bogging journalists (ahem) across the globe.

    It looks like today's weather is also a little iffy. Nasa forecasters will keep a close eye on the weather right up to launch to ensure it's safe enough to fly.

    Human spaceflights are far riskier than cargo-only trips, so weather conditions need to be perfect.

    Clear skies and low winds are optimal for a successful launch – and even an emergency “mission abort” requires good weather for a safe splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

    Nasa keeps track of more than 50 locations across the ocean to ensure a splashdown can be safely performed.

    Following Wednesday's cancellation, Nasa boss Jim Bridenstine said the rocket could have triggered lightning if it had lifted off.

    He said that there was “too much electricity in the atmosphere”.

    “There wasn't really a lightning storm or anything like that,” Bridenstine explained.

    “But there was concern that if we did launch, it could actually trigger lightning.”

  • Here's what you can expect from today's launch…

    Nasa astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley have already made their way to a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at the Kennedy Space Centre.

    They were ferried to the spacecraft in a Tesla Model X electric car sporting the Nasa logo.

    That's because billionaire SpaceX boss Elon Musk is also CEO of Tesla.

    Hurley and Behnken took a special elevator up 230ft to a SpaceX Crew Draon capsule atop the awaiting rocket.

    When the countdown hits zero, the rocket will blast into space – carrying astronauts into orbit from US soil for the first time since 2011.

    The pair will spend 24 hours in orbit before docking with the International Space Station roughly 250 miles above Earth.

    You can read more about today's launch in our explainer here.

  • Roughly two and a half hours to launch…

    … and once again the forecast is a big concern for today.

    Apparently, there's a 50 per cent chance the weather will force officials to abort the mission. Fingers and toes crossed it goes ahead…

    Here's today's astronauts, Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, waving goodbye before they were strapped into their SpaceX spacecraft, Crew Dragon.

  • It’s SpaceX launch day!

    Take two for the California rocket company, who had to cancel the first planned flight on Wednesday due to bad weather.

    SpaceX is planning to hurl two Nasa astronauts to the International Space Station 250 miles above Earth in what could prove to be an historic day for US space travel.

    Today’s launch is scheduled for 8:22pm BST (3:22pm ET) and if successful will mark the first time astronauts have flown into orbit using a spacecraft built by a private company.

    But it’s not just a big day for SpaceX.

    Nasa hasn’t sent astronauts to space from US soil since 2011 following President Barack Obama’s decision to bin the Space Shuttle programme.

    Since then, US spacefarers have made their way to orbit by piggybacking on rocket launches run by the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

    Those lift off from Russia or Kazakhstan – thousands of miles from Nasa’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

    Teaming up with the Russians has proved both extremely expensive and a little embarrassing for Nasa, which had hoped to set up a successor to the Space Shuttle programme years ago.

    The project has been delayed multiple times due to missed targets and budget restrictions.

    A successful launch tonight would go a long way towards restoring America's dominance in space, and set Nasa up for its ambitious programme to get man on the Moon again by 2024.

    Nasa says the mission – dubbed Demo-2 – will lay the groundwork for future manned flights to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

    As for SpaceX, today’s launch will mark the first time the company has sent people into space.

    Bankrolled by tech billionaire Elon Musk, the firm has worked for years to get to this point – one slip-up could cost them everything.

    Musk’s eventual goal is to take astronauts and tourists to the Moon and even Mars.

    The 48-year-old has even said he wants to help build a city on Mars by 2050. Good luck with that one…

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