SpaceX rocket blasts off on private crewed flight to ISS.NASA and SpaceX launch astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station. This mission marks the first time since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011 that humans will fly to the space station from the U.S. soil.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying two veteran NASA astronauts lifted off for the International Space Station on Saturday, the first crewed space flight from US soil in nine years and the first ever by a commercial company.
The two-stage rocket with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard blasted off smoothly in a cloud of orange flames and smoke from Launch Pad 39A at Florida´s Kennedy Space Center for a historic flight to the orbiting ISS.
“Let´s light this candle,” Hurley said, right before liftoff.
The reusable first booster stage of the SpaceX rocket separated cleanly about two and a half minutes after liftoff and landed upright on a floating barge off the Atlantic coast.
The second stage also separated smoothly, sending the astronauts in the Crew Dragon capsule on their way to the space station.
SpaceX said Crew Dragon was on the correct trajectory to link up with the space station orbiting some 250 miles (450 kilometers) above the Earth.
The launch had originally been scheduled for Wednesday but was delayed because of weather conditions, which also remained uncertain on Saturday right up until liftoff at 3:22 pm (1922 GMT).