23 April: watch Mission Alpha launch live

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Science & Exploration


Latest: NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 23 April at 10:49 BST (11:49 CEST) for the launch of the Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station due to unfavourable weather conditions along the flight path on Thursday.

French ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet is returning to the International Space Station on his second spaceflight. The mission, which is called Alpha, will see the first European to launch on a US spacecraft in over a decade. Thomas is flying on the Crew Dragon, alongside NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, and Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide.

Thomas Pesquet in SpaceX flight suit

The launch on 23 April is scheduled for 10:49 BST (11:49 CEST), and In collaboration with France’s space agency CNES, it will be live streamed with commentary in French and English.

Tune in from 09:32 BST (10:32 CEST) on April 23 via ESA Web TV.

Launching from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA, Thomas will be the first ESA astronaut to fly on a vehicle other than the US Space Shuttle or Russian Soyuz.

The flight to orbit will take less than ten minutes, with just under 24 hours spent catching up with the International Space Station, for a docking with the Harmony module planned for 10:10 BST (11:10 CEST) on 24 April 2021.

Docking coverage will be available on ESA Web TV from 09:35 BST–13:45 BST (10:35-14:45 CEST).

Latest updates on the mission can be found via @esaspaceflight on Twitter, with more details on the last steps before launch to be published on ESA’s exploration blog via thomaspesquet.esa.int.

Background information on the Alpha mission is available at www.esa.int/MissionAlpha with a brochure at www.esa.int/AlphaBrochure

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