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Discovery, Science Channel offer behind-the-scenes looks at SpaceX's 1st crew launch

Discovery and Science channels are teaming up to give us a multiplatform experience looking behind the scenes at SpaceX's first-ever crewed launch next week. 

The mission, called Demo-2, is scheduled to lift off Wednesday (May 27) at 4:33 p.m. EDT (2033 GMT) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Discovery and Science channels will air a live launch broadcast that day beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Pacific), which will be hosted by Christian Davenport (journalist at The Washington Post), Chris Jacobs (television host for several past Discovery events) and ABC News correspondent David Kerley.

Demo-2 will send NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. Its liftoff will be the first launch of astronauts to orbit from U.S. soil since the last space shuttle mission, STS-135, launched from Florida in July 2011. Since then, NASA astronauts have relied on Soyuz spacecraft launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to reach the ISS.

Full coverage: SpaceX's historic Demo-2 astronaut flight explained

Full coverage: SpaceX's historic Demo-2 astronaut flight explained (Image credit: SpaceX)

A group of NASA astronauts, past and present, will provide commentary on the special broadcast, including K. Megan McArthur (who is Behnken's wife), Mike Massimino, Karen Nyberg, Jessica Meir and (from the ISS) Chris Cassidy. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will also provide perspective.

Participating celebrities include singer-songwriter Katy Perry, television host Adam Savage of "Mythbusters" and "Tested," and former NASA engineer and current YouTuber Mark Rober. More celebrities will be announced at a later date.

Space fans can also catch a two-hour documentary about the mission, "NASA & SpaceX: Journey to the Future," which will air Monday (May 25) at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on Science Channel and Tuesday (May 26) at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on Discovery. The documentary features a behind-the-scenes look at NASA and at SpaceX headquarters, including interviews with Musk, Bridenstine, Behnken and Hurley.

For both events, viewers can watch using the Discovery Go app, or follow along by using the hashtag #SpaceLaunchLIVE on Discovery's or Science's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

"Discovery and Science Channel have spent over a year documenting SpaceX's race to become the first private company to launch American astronauts into space," said Scott Lewers, Science's executive vice president of multiplatform programming, factual and head of content.

"Our live special offers both incredible access for the launch, and expert insight from SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk and other leading aerospace professionals," he added. "In our two-hour documentary, we show the unbelievable engineering and scientific feats achieved by SpaceX in making such an historic launch happen." 

Space fans can also watch the Demo-2 launch live on NASA Television, and here at Space.com.

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

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Elizabeth Howell
Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.