Crew Dragon in orbit after historic launch

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley left and Bob Behnken in their spacesuits at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne Calif. On Wednesday

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A few seconds later, the Crew Dragon spacecraft and astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley lifted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.

"Known as NASA's SpaceX Demo-2, the mission is an end-to-end test flight to validate the SpaceX crew transportation system, including launch, in-orbit, docking and landing operations and pave the way for its certification for regular crew flights to the station as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program".

Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are expected to reach the International Space Station after a 19-hour journey.

A U.S. spacecraft with two American astronauts on board has been launched on a flight to the International Space Station.

NASA hasn't sent astronauts into space from US territory since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011. USA Like Commander Hurley, annotated on Twitter On Friday his first space mission in 2009 was washed five times due to weather or technical issues before it finally took off.

Over the past few years, NASA outsourced the job of designing and building its next generation of spaceships to SpaceX and Boeing, awarding them $7 billion in contracts in a public-private partnership aimed at driving down costs and spurring innovation.

"When Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a mission to the ISS, they added their names to the long list of heroes who have changed the way we think about our universe and our place in it", he said.

Wednesday's flight was scrubbed 17 minutes before blastoff because of high levels of atmospheric electricity that could have triggered a lightning strike on the rocket.

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The president spoke to the astronauts prior to the launch, and told reporters that he said "God bless you".

Just before Saturday's rescheduled launch, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine praised Musk.

"When Americans are united, there is nothing we can not do", he further said. In honor of the historic occasion, TV, streaming services and other outlets are offering several ways to watch the space launch.

The spacecraft is meant to dock with the International Space Station. After retiring the space shuttle in 2011, NASA has relied on Russian spaceships launched from Kazakhstan to take United States astronauts to and from the space station.

Astronauts Behnken and Hurley joined NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner on the station.

Trump said that Saturday's launch marks a commitment to a brighter future for all citizens on Earth.

SpaceX conducted a successful test flight of Crew Dragon to the ISS in March 2019 with a sensor-laden mannequin on board named Ripley, after the character played by Sigourney Weaver in the "Alien" movies.

After passing all of its preflight checks, ground controllers signaled that the mission (Demo-2) was a go at 03:22 p.m. EDT (12:22 p.m. PDT), saying "let's light this candle!"

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