The first crewed mission of the SpaceX Dragon Capsule was originally scheduled for 27 May 2020. The aim was to ferry two astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch was cancelled at the last minute due to unsuitable weather conditions. Had launch proceeded as planned, the craft would have been visible from the UK in twilight.
Every day of delay to launch moved the launch window some 22-23 minutes earlier, bringing the passage over the UK into a brighter sky. The launch finally took place at 20:22:45 BST on 30 May, and the capsule passed over the UK in daylight some 20 minutes later. There was one opportunity to see the craft before it docked with the ISS about 19 hours later (15:33 BST on 31 May). This occurred on its second orbit, low down in the south west. The sighting opportunities were limited for me, and I had to take to an upstairs bedroom.
I should have pressed the record button earlier. Crew Dragon was much brighter than I expected - approximately magnitude 1. In the video, Gienah is magnitude 2.6 and flickers in and out of view. The prediction in heavens-above.com gave a maximum altitude of only 11°, but the actual pass was much higher (Algorab was at an altitude of 19°).
Original: Newsletter July 2020 Updated: 25 July 2020