It's a big day for Elon Musk and the future of NASA's space program.
SpaceX and NASA are launching two NASA astronauts to the Internation Space Station from U.S. soil today—the first time since NASA shelved its shuttle program in 2011. If the launch is successful, it will also be the first time a commercial aerospace company has sent people into the planet's orbit.
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be piloting SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft strapped to a Space X Falcon 9 rocket in a mission called Demo-2. The mission is the last major test SpaceX will need to conduct for NASA to certify the company as a carrier for the country's future missions to and from the ISS.
After space shuttle Atlantis' final flight in 2011, NASA astronauts would launch from Russia on the Russkie-made Soyuz spacecraft at a cost up to a much as $86 million per seat. NASA scrapped its shuttle program at the turn of the last decade to allow private-sector aerospace companies the chance to develop spacecraft suitable for traveling the space station.
In 2014, NASA awarded SpaceX a 2.6 billion dollar contract to pursue building and testing it's Crew Dragon Spacecraft.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will take off from Pad 39A—the famed starting point of Apollo missions including the 1969 moon landing—at Florida's Kennedy Space Center today at 1:33 M.S.T.
To read more about the mission, click here.
To watch the launch live from NASA, click here.
To watch the launch live from SpaceX, click here.