Washington: The SpaceX “Resilience” Crew Dragon manned mission to the International Space Station (ISS) has successfully launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
“The Crew-1 mission has lifted off on a Falcon 9 rocket from @NASAKennedy at 7:27pm ET [00:27 GMT on Monday, November 16] and is en route to the @Space_Station,” NASA said on Twitter, where a live broadcast is underway.
Later, NASA said that the rocket’s first stage had successfully separated, landing on the drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean and that Crew Dragon was now flying free.
US President Donald Trump praised the launch via Twitter.
“A great launch! @NASA was a closed up disaster when we took over. Now it is again the ‘hottest’, most advanced, space center in the world, by far!” Trump said.
Joe Biden also congratulated NASA on the successful launch.
“Congratulations to NASA and SpaceX on today’s launch. It’s a testament to the power of science and what we can accomplish by harnessing our innovation, ingenuity, and determination. I join all Americans and the people of Japan in wishing the astronauts Godspeed on their journey,” Biden wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
The launch of the first ever operational commercial crew mission follows the SpaceX Demo-2 mission that took NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS in May this year.
The SpaceX Crew-1 mission is carrying US astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, as well as Soichi Noguchi from Japan for a six-month stay on the ISS.
According to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket will be reused for the SpaceX Crew-2 mission that is expected to be launched in March 2021.