The launch takes place on Wednesday, May 27!

History will be made on Wednesday, May 27, as NASA partners up with SpaceX to send Americans back into space after nearly a decade. What makes this launch one for the history books is the fact that it will be the first to use a commercial rocket to send humans to space. 

At 4:33 p.m. EST, on Wednesday, the SpaceX Crew Dragon space shuttle will launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken at the helm. The pair will then have an extended stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS) for the Demo-2 mission. 

Space shuttle

Due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, the viewing of the launch will be largely virtual. In addition to the launch itself, however, the Kennedy Space Center has found a way to keep visitors connected through a variety of resources so that spectators don't miss a beat when the Crew Dragon takes flight.

Here's everything you need to know:

1. Register to #LaunchAmerica.

Before you clear out your afternoon, you need to register for the launch. When you register, you will get important updates and notifications that will keep you up-to-date. Registering will also come with specific details about the opportunity to interact with the center’s director, Robert Cabana, and NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine. 

2. Take the virtual tours and see the shuttle up close.

Normally, if you were to visit the space center, you would have the opportunity to tour the facility and learn all about the space shuttle and mission. With the virtual launch, visitors will still be able to do so through the available online resources. 

Virtual tours include a tour of the facility, launch site, and even a look at the manufacturing and design of the Crew Dragon shuttle. Be sure to take a look at the highlights calendar that will update regularly. You can follow along as mission milestones are scheduled and reached. 

You can even download the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex App to create a guided tour schedule that is tailored to your liking. Click here to get a detailed look at what the virtual tour entails. 

3. Get involved on social media.

As with any launch, there is a palpable excitement that naturally needs to be shared. The virtual space launch will allow visitors to share their excitement with others. In addition to the trending #LaunchAmerica, there will be a variety of interactive social media opportunities for visitors to participate in. A great place to start is by logging onto Facebook to join the virtual NASA Social Facebook group.

4. Stream the launch.

The launch can be streamed live on NASA TV. Coverage will begin at 12:15 p.m. EST on May 27, and will continue through the next day until the space shuttle docks. 

Few events are universal in bringing together strangers to cheer on the success of humanity. Watching a rocket launch into space is certainly one of those events! The question is, will you be there? Get ready for the big launch and be sure to share the experience with your friends and family! This is history in the making!

Are you planning to watch the launch? Have you already registered online? Have you ever seen a space shuttle launch in person? Tell us in the comments!