SpaceX and NASA Successfully Launch Crew Dragon Spacecraft

Mandatory Credit: Photo by David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock (10664169f) SpaceX Falcon 9, with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the Dragon crew capsule, lifts off from Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., . For the first time in nearly a decade, astronauts blasted towards orbit aboard an American rocket from American soil, a first for a private company Home Launch, Cape Canaveral, United States - 30 May 2020
David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock

NASA and SpaceX pulled off a successful launch Saturday of the Elon Musk-led company’s Falcon 9 rocket.

The spacecraft lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 3:22 PM ET, with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft for an historic flight to the International Space Station.

“Let’s light this candle,” Hurley said just before liftoff. Once the rocket launched, the crew inside the ground station broke into applause.

A member of the ground crew later said, “I am not going to celebrate until Bob and Doug are back home safely.”

This demo mission marked the first U.S. manned spaceflight since the 2011 end of NASA’s Space Shuttle program. It’s also the first private, commercially built manned spaceflight. (The Dragon spacecraft is designed to eventually carry private passengers into orbit, the ISS or beyond).

A previously planned launch was postponed Wednesday due to weather concerns.

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