Four astronauts began their journey to the International Space Station (ISS) after a historic SpaceX launch.
This is NASA’s first fully-fledged mission sending a crew into orbit on board a privately-owned spacecraft and the second time that SpaceX’s Dragon capsule has taken astronauts to the space station. The crew is made up of three US NASA astronauts and one Japanese astronaut. The rocket lifted-off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida at 7.27pm local time (12.27am GMT).
This is also the second time in almost a decade that a crewed space flight has lifted off from the US, after the retirement of the shuttle programme in 2011. It took the crew around 27 hours to reach the ISS, and they will spend around five to six months in Earth’s orbit.
SpaceX’s Dragon capsule should fly to the ISS entirely on its own, without the need for crew members to control it unless needed and SpaceX will now operate a rotation of journeys to the ISS on behalf of NASA.