I will be hosting live commentary over Zoom during NASA’s #LaunchAmerica : the first launch of crew to orbit in a commercial spacecraft. The launch is currently targeted for Wednesday, May 27, at 1:33pm Pacific time. I will start my commentary at 1:00pm Pacific Time. This will all be rescheduled if the launch gets rescheduled.
When: Wednesday, May 27, 1:00pm Pacific Time
Where: Register in advance for this meeting (because it is public):
I will probably not be livestreaming the launch within the commentary. It’ll be better quality if you open the Zoom link up in one tab, and the launch livestream in another. I will be commentating directly with you, and will attempt not to be talking over the NASA official commentators, but explaining some terms they use and answering your direct questions. If it does seem to work better, then I will try livestreaming the launch also. We’ll see. Technology, yo.
To watch the livestream of the launch go to https://www.nasa.gov/beourguest  and register to get the best links from NASA. I will also post more links here and in the Zoom chat once we’re rolling tomorrow.
Here’s my Twitter summary  of why this is historic:
This is going to be a very big step. If I’m checking my history correctly, this will be the first crewed orbital flight of a truly-new design of spacecraft since the Space Shuttles first orbited in ~1981. I’m not dismissing SpaceShipTwo’s accomplishment of suborbital human spaceflight in 2018, but orbital is definitely different.
I am also not dismissing 神舟(Shenzhou) in 2003, though you have to admit that 神舟 is very, very, very similar to Сою́з(Soyuz). In trying to capture the significance of this upcoming crewed Dragon launch, the technology of 神舟 didn’t *feel* as new.
I guess I’m trying to say this *feels* very different and very new. As we’re living in a time of heightened anxiety with the pandemic, things that *feel* like risky new technology can *feel* even newer or riskier. Let us not mistake *feelings* for quantitative and scientifically-conducted risk assessment in any of our scientific endeavors right now, be they human spaceflight, quarantine advice, or the accelerated development of massive SARS-Cov-2 testing and vaccines.
See you tomorrow!