How To Watch Tonight's International Space Station Launch Via Livestream

Photo: Courtesy of NASA.
Tonight, three astronauts are heading for the International Space Station, and you can join them. Well, not literally. But you can watch the whole shebang via livestream. NASA Television is covering the launch beginning at 8:30 p.m. EDT, with liftoff scheduled for 9:36 p.m. EDT.

The team’s travel plans involve a two-day trip in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. While the trip to the ISS normally takes only six hours, these astronauts will be testing their recently upgraded spacecraft before it docks with 34 orbits around the Earth. (Can you believe it only takes two days to orbit the entire Earth that many times?) On Saturday, July 9, they will dock at the International Space Station's Rassvet module. This part of the trip will also be covered by NASA TV beginning at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, July 8.

The trio of space explorers on board includes Kate Rubins, PhD, of NASA, Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos, a Russian space agency, and Takuya Onishi of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. According to The Verge, Dr. Rubins will be the first female to live aboard the International Space Station in over a year. She has a doctorate in cancer biology from Stanford University, and was chosen for this mission after starting astronaut training with NASA in 2009 — she was chosen from a pool of over 3,500 applicants for that training class. While on this mission, she will also become the first person to sequence DNA in space.

According to NASA
, the team will be in space for about four months. They're expected to return to Earth in October.

You can see Dr. Rubins and her fellow astronauts off tonight on NASA's livestream. Here's to hoping for clear, non-cloudy skies.

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