NASA is having a virtual 'Launch America' party for historic SpaceX flight. (Yes, you're invited)

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (left) and Doug Hurley give a thumbs up after arriving at NASA's Kennedy Space Center ahead of SpaceX's Demo-2 mission, on May 20, 2020. (Image credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA)

NASA is ready to virtually host thousands of excited people for the Demo-2 mission, the first launch of American astronauts into orbit from U.S. soil since 2011.

The agency will host a "Launch America" social event in the coming days to give members of the public a behind-the-scenes look at the SpaceX Crew Dragon launch of Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, which is scheduled for launch Wednesday (May 27) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

Novel coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions mean crowds will not be permitted nearby the site — but you can still get a fun experience online, NASA says.

Related: SpaceX's historic Demo-2 test flight with astronauts in photos 

To get started, make sure you subscribe to NASA's social media channels. Coverage will be on NASA TVYouTubeTwitterFacebook, Instagram and Linkedin. Use the hashtag #LaunchAmerica on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to join in the conversation, which may allow you to be featured on these channels, as NASA explains here.

A number of activities will be happening exclusively on Facebook during the days before the launch, including a virtual tour of NASA facilities, a virtual look at the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, and the chance to chat with NASA representatives. More information on events and timing are available at the special NASA website, Be Our Guest, and the NASA TV schedule is posted here.

"Through NASA's virtual launch experience, we make it possible for more people than ever to watch the beginning of this new era in human spaceflight," Bettina Inclán, NASA's associate administrator for communications, said in a statement. "We're already seeing people participate online with the #LaunchAmerica hashtag, and helping build the excitement for this historic moment."

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley speak to members of the media after arriving at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on May 20, 2020. (Image credit: NASA)

NASA's first crewed launch social (then called a "tweetup") took place in 2009 in association with space shuttle launch STS-129, attracting dozens of participants to the media site of the Kennedy Space Center. (STS-129 was the fifth tweetup overall, but the first alongside a human spaceflight.) In the decade since, the agency has regularly hosted many social events at several of its centers to highlight NASA science missions and other activities.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook

OFFER: Save 45% on 'All About Space' 'How it Works' and 'All About History'!

<a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank">OFFER: Save 45% on 'All About Space' 'How it Works' and 'All About History'!

For a limited time, you can take out a digital subscription to any of <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank">our best-selling science magazines for just $2.38 per month, or 45% off the standard price for the first three months.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: