Starting this afternoon we'll we'll be keeping our eyes toward the heavens as the historic International Space Station-bound launch of the SpaceX program streams live via NASA's own video portal. This launch will take place at 4:55 a.m. EDT and will be inside what's called an "Instantaneous Launch Window" - this essentially meaning that if they can't get a perfect launch time, they've got to move to their backup date, May 22nd in this case. This mission is important to the history of space travel and science in general because it will be the first Commercial Company ever to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station - and we can't wait to see it go well!
This launch will be pushing the company's Falcon 9 rocket into space with their Dragon spacecraft ready to make the journey all the way to the ISS this month. Elon Musk, owner and chief designer for Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is one of the centers of interest here because of his Tony Stark-like real life and history with blockbuster tech projects such as SpaceX as and Tesla Motors. Have a peek at the NASA-made animation of the process this SpaceX mission will go through extremely soon:
Currently SpaceX is getting lots of help from NASA engineers and flight controllers as they work hand-in-hand with the private company to coordinate efforts and reach a successful launch, birthing, and completion. If successful, this will be the first in a long line of NASA-funded cargo deliveries to the ISS. NASA's COTS space act agreements to SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation have started this ecosystem up in recent years with this mission being a beacon for their future collaborations.
You can watch the launch of this SpaceX mission in the UStream-hosted NASA Television stream above starting at 3:30 a.m. with the launch scheduled for 4:55 a.m. EDT on May 19th. Until then you can check out SpaceX/Falcon 9 Dragon Pre-Launch Briefings from KSC through this same streaming window below all afternoon!