Artistic renderings of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon (L) and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner (R). Image: Alex Parkin / SpaceX / Boeing
SpaceX is slated to launch its very first passengers to space today at 4:33. This historic flight is really a test. The experimental initiative tasked private companies with creating new spacecraft for NASA are capable of transporting astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
SpaceX spent the last six years getting to this point. Last year, the company did a full dress rehearsal, successfully launching the Crew Dragon to the station without a crew on board.
The American Museum of Natural History announced an online SpaceFest to celebrate the launch of the first U.S. human mission to space in nearly a decade. From NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida the mission is headed to the International Space Station (ISS).
Beginning at 11 am EDT on May 27, SpaceFest at Home will offer a series of online engagements that will immerse participants in the science of space travel—past, present, and future. These will include a special edition of the Museum’s Scientists at Home program in which Museum Curator Ruth Angus will discuss how imagination has led to scientific innovation—including human missions to space, a fun at-home space activity for children on the Museum’s science website for kids OLogy, and a live guided virtual flight that will let viewers blast off from Earth and travel to the ISS and beyond while discussing what it takes to plan a trip to space. The festival will culminate in a watch party of the launch itself, featuring live commentary from Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson, Museum astrophysicist Jackie Faherty and Museum Curator Michael Shara.
SpaceFest programming, which will be accessible via individual links available at amnh.org/calendar/spacefest, includes:
- 11 am: Scientists at Home: Imagining Space Exploration: Join Museum Curator Ruth Angus as she examines the awe-inspiring leap from imagination to scientific achievement in space exploration. From novelist Jules Verne to astronaut Neil Armstrong, learn how some of the most creative minds spurred unique scientific accomplishments, including human missions to space.
- Get inspired by this dynamic presentation to illustrate your own dream of space travel! The May 27 OLogy Challenge, an at-home activity for students from the Museum’s science website for kids, will launch during the program. Submit your illustration for a chance to be featured on the Museum’s OLogy website!
- 1 pm: Field Trip: Spaceflight Live Watch Party: Ride along with the Museum’s Director of Astrovisualization Carter Emmart and astrophysicist Jackie Faherty on their mission from Earth to the International Space Station, to the Moon, and beyond. Like mapping out a cross-country car trip, sending humans into space takes a lot of planning. Weather, distance, detours, traffic, and sightseeing all come into play. Experience the thrill of space flight, see the sites, and discover what goes into planning a successful mission to space.
- 4:05 pm: The Future of Space Exploration with Neil deGrasse Tyson: Watch the SpaceX Crew Dragon launch live from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with commentary from Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson, Museum astrophysicist Jackie Faherty and Museum Curator Michael Shara as they discuss the future for human missions to space. Viewers interested in asking questions for Neil or Jackie to answer live can send their queries in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.