This weekend is gearing up to be an exciting one for space nerds, as two big launches will be occurring within a day of each other. On Friday, August 25, four crewmembers will launch to the International Space Station on board a Crew Dragon launched with a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of the Crew-7 mission. And a day later, on Saturday, August 26, a joint European and Japanese X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) will launch as well.
Both launches will be live-streamed, so if you fancy settling in for a weekend of rocket watching, then we’ve already covered how to watch the Crew-7 launch, and you can read on for details of how to watch the XRISM launch as well.
XRISM is a joint project between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese space agency, or JAXA. The aim is to launch a space-based mission that will include two instruments: one for measuring the temperature of objects emitting X-rays, called Resolve, and one for imaging X-ray objects, called Xtend.
X-ray observations are useful for understanding extreme phenomena like supernovas and colliding black holes, both of which give out lots of radiation, including at high energies. XRISM will join missions like NASA’s Chandra and the ESA’s XMM-Newton in studying this part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
“X-ray astronomy enables us to study the most energetic phenomena in the universe. It holds the key to answering important questions in modern astrophysics: how the largest structures in the universe evolve, how the matter we are ultimately composed of was distributed through the cosmos, and how galaxies are shaped by massive black holes at their centers,” said Matteo Guainazzi, ESA project scientist for XRISM, in a statement.
XRISM will be launched into a low-Earth orbit using a H-IIA rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. The launch is scheduled for 8:34 p.m. ET (5:34 p.m. PT) on August 26.
The launch will be live-streamed by JAXA, in both Japanese and English. Coverage will begin at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT). You can watch along either by heading to YouTube or by using the video embedded near the top of this page.