SpaceX and Nasa will take a second crack at making history today by reattempting the launch of its Crew Dragon spacecraft today.
If successful, it would mark the first time a private company has sent humans to the International Space Station.
It also heralds the opening of a route that has been dependent on Russian launches for most of the past decade. No US trips to the ISS have been made since the retirement of Nasa space shuttles in 2011.
Elon Musk’s company was forced to postpone Wednesday’s first attempt due to poor weather.
The new launch is scheduled for 3.22pm local time at Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre, or 8.22pm UK time.
In principle the capsule should be visible from the UK, although conditions are less conducive to seeing it on Saturday.
It is expected to make a pass over the UK just after 8.40pm – travelling directly over Cornwall but in sight of other regions – but it is likely to be too bright to spot with the naked eye.
As the craft flies a second lap around the world it may be possible to see it shortly after 10.15pm, according to scientists at a satellite tracking station in the Netherlands – although it could be too low on the horizon to see clearly.
Skywatchers in the UK should face southwest and look for the craft flying a curved path from just below where they can see the moon, round and up to the right of the moon before disappearing.
Those hoping to spot the capsule on the second pass should keep an eye out until at least 10.21pm to account for slight uncertainty in its trajectory.
Astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken have been in quarantine as a precaution during the coronavirus pandemic.
Their Crew Dragon capsule will be propelled into outer space by a Falcon 9 rocket and will take more than a day to reach the ISS.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].
For more stories like this, check our news page.
Source: Metro News UK