SpaceX launched four astronauts toward orbit Friday using a recycled rocket and capsule, the third crew flight in less than a year for Elon Musk’s rapidly expanding company.
A team of four astronauts lifted off aboard the SpaceX capsule at about 5:49 a.m. ET from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew will remain on the International Space Station for a six-month mission.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the Commercial Crew Program, and the SpaceX team, and the NASA team and what they’ve been able to do to enable reliable, safe, effective transportation to and from station,” Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk said at a press conference earlier this week.
The mission marks SpaceX’s third crewed flight in partnership with NASA, following its previous launch Crew-1 and Demo-2 missions. The launch will also mark the first time that SpaceX reuses a rocket and a capsule for a mission.
The SpaceX Crew-2 mission includes NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
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The Crew-2 mission was originally scheduled to launch on Thursday. However, officials opted to delay the trip due to inclement weather along the flight path.
The spacecraft is scheduled to dock at the International Space Station early Saturday morning. Full coverage of the launch will air on NASA’s app and website.