SpaceX rocket lifts off on historic private crewed flight

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The rocket launch, which took place at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, marked the first American astronauts from American soil on an American made rocket in almost a decade.

"For operational missions, Crew Dragon will be able to launch as many as four crew members and carry more than 220 pounds of cargo, enabling the expansion of the inhabitants of the space station, increasing the time dedicated to research in the unique microgravity environment, and returning more science back to Earth". Eastern May 31, 19 hours after launch.

However, bad weather caused the launch to be scrubbed less than 15 minutes before engine ignition and NASA chose to try again during one of the mission's backup launch windows - either today at 03:22 p.m. EDT (12:22 p.m. PDT) or tomorrow at 03:00 p.m. EDT (12:00 p.m. PDT).

Meanwhile, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also congratulated NASA, SpaceX and "all the hardworking women and men who made today a victory for American innovation and persistence".

Musk's brand was everywhere at Cape Canaveral Saturday, not just on his Crew Dragon capsule.

Under the new, 21st-century partnership, aerospace companies design, build, own and operate the spaceships, and NASA is essentially a paying customer on a list that could eventually include non-government researchers, artists and tourists.

NASA then started the commercial crew program in 2010 with a series of funded Space Act Agreement initiatives to SpaceX and other companies. Since then, Nasa astronauts have had to hitch rides aboard Russia's Soyuz spacecraft. In 2014, Boeing and SpaceX won Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts to complete development and testing of their commercial crew vehicles and for initial flights to the ISS.

However, today's launch went without any major technical problems as Demo-2's Crew Dragon capsule rose from the pad atop a Falcon 9 rocket, marking two historic events.

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The rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft shown launching successfully from Pad 39A.

That accident pushed back an in-flight abort test of the spacecraft, where the capsule separated from a Falcon 9 rocket in flight, to January.

This is SpaceX's second spaceflight test of its Crew Dragon and its first test with astronauts aboard, which will pave the way for its certification for regular crew flights to the station as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Programme.

Image Source: John Raoux/AP/Shutterstock10-year-old Jack Hurley waves at his dad, NASA astronaut Douglas Hurley, as Hurley and fellow astronaut Robert Behnken depart the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building on their way to Pad 39-A at Kennedy Space Center. Behnken flew on the STS-123 shuttle mission in 2008 and STS-130 in 2010. Hurley piloted the space shuttle on the last launch of astronauts from Kennedy, on July 8, 2011.

The biggest US rocket launch in decades captured interest around the globe, coming at a time people clamored for good news amid the Covid-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty.

"I think this is an inspiration for our country. It's that next stage of human spaceflight".

"I'm breathing a sigh of relief, but I will also tell you I'm not gonna celebrate until Bob and Doug are home safely", Mr. Bridenstine said.

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