SpaceX is launching a Dragon cargo ship for NASA tonight. Here's how to watch live.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the CRS-19 Dragon cargo ship for the International Space Station at its Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launchpad in Florida in December 2019. SpaceX will launch the CRS-20 Dragon cargo flight on March 6, 2020.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the CRS-19 Dragon cargo ship for the International Space Station at its Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launchpad in Florida in December 2019. SpaceX will launch the CRS-20 Dragon cargo flight on March 6, 2020. (Image credit: SpaceX)

 CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX (opens in new tab) will launch its 20th Dragon (opens in new tab)cargo mission for NASA tonight (March 6) and you can watch it all live online. 

The private spaceflight company will use a veteran Falcon 9 rocket (opens in new tab) to launch the uncrewed cargo craft from Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 11:50 p.m. EST (0450 GMT on Saturday). Tucked inside the Dragon is more than 4,300 lbs. (1,950 kg) of supplies bound for the International Space Station. 

You can watch the launch live here on Space.com (opens in new tab), courtesy of SpaceX, beginning at about 11:35 p.m. EST (0435 GMT). You can also watch the launch directly from SpaceX here (opens in new tab), or from NASA here (opens in new tab). NASA's webcast will begin at 11:30 p.m. EST (0430 GMT). 

Related: How SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule works (infographic)

The mission marks the final flight for SpaceX under its first commercial resupply services contract with NASA. The contract, which was signed in 2008, was valued at $1.6 billion and covered a series of Dragon flights delivering a minimum of 44,000 lbs. (20,000 kg) of cargo to the space station. 

Today’s flight will mark the final time this version of the Dragon spacecraft will fly; future resupply missions will feature SpaceX's upgraded Dragon 2 capsule. The first of those flights is expected to launch in October 2020. 

The human-rated version of the Dragon 2 craft, also known as Crew Dragon, made its debut one year ago (opens in new tab) as it flew to the International Space Station as part of a demonstration mission (called Demo-1) for upcoming crewed flights. In 2014, SpaceX and Boeing snagged a coveted launch contract collectively worth $6.8 billion to each build a spacecraft capable of transporting astronauts to the space station and back. 

Related: See the evolution of SpaceX's rockets in pictures

Both versions (crewed and uncrewed) of the upgraded Dragon will launch from Pad 39A, a switch from current launch procedures that utilized Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to send the cargo capsules into orbit. 

According to company officials, the current version of Dragon can fly up to three times, whereas the upgraded version can fly as many as five times. SpaceX will also be changing up its recovery operations for future cargo missions, and scooping the Dragon out of the Atlantic. (Currently, Dragon splashes down in the Pacific Ocean.) The switch will allow for faster processing times.  

Dragon 2 also comes with some different skills than its predecessor. Now, instead of berthing with the station via robotic arm, Dragon will be able to dock itself to the orbital outpost. As part of the Demo-1 mission last year, Dragon was tasked with proving it could autonomously dock and undock itself with the station. 

Following that successful test, SpaceX demonstrated that the capsule’s built-in launch escape system performed as expected and could keep astronauts safe in the event of an emergency during flight. 

That step, which took place earlier this year, was the last  major hurdle the company needed to clear before it could launch people. The next flight of the Crew Dragon is expected to happen as early as May. Two astronauts — Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken — will fly to the space station as part of the Demo-2 mission. NASA is still trying to determine how long their stay might be. 

Weather conditions are predicted to be 60% favorable for Friday night's launch attempt, according to the U.S. Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron, which performs weather assessments for space launches. (Currently, the primary concern (opens in new tab) is strong liftoff winds.)

Clear skies are predicted around liftoff, which should provide onlookers with a clear view of the launch and the landing. For this launch, SpaceX is attempting to recover the first stage booster at its landing zone at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Visit Space.com tonight for complete coverage of SpaceX's Dragon CRS-20 launch to the International Space Station to deliver NASA cargo.

Follow Amy Thompson on Twitter @astrogingersnap. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

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Amy Thompson
Contributing Writer

Amy Thompson is a Florida-based space and science journalist, who joined Space.com as a contributing writer in 2015. She's passionate about all things space and is a huge science and science-fiction geek. Star Wars is her favorite fandom, with that sassy little droid, R2D2 being her favorite. She studied science at the University of Florida, earning a degree in microbiology. Her work has also been published in Newsweek, VICE, Smithsonian, and many more. Now she chases rockets, writing about launches, commercial space, space station science, and everything in between.