CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – At its second attempt, a rocket ship designed and built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company has lifted off with two American astronauts on board, set to make a historic flight to the International Space Station.
The spacecraft left the same launch pad used during the Apollo missions to the moon a half century ago at Cape Canaveral, Florida on Saturday afternoon.
This historic flight creates a new beginning in commercial space travel. It also marks the first time NASA has launched astronauts from U.S. soil in almost a decade.
Since 2011, once the space shuttle was retired, NASA in the meantime has relied on Russian rockets launched from Kazakhstan to shuttle U.S. astronauts to and from the space station.
Within minutes the Crew Dragon capsule, carrying American astronauts Bob Behken and Doug Hurley began flying free through Earth’s orbit.
The rest of the journey remains slow and precise as Behnken and Hurley spend nearly 19 hours in the spacecraft as it climbs toward the International Space Station.
The two are expected to dock around 10:30 a.m. ET Sunday.
NASA will host a press conference Saturday evening at 6:30 pm ET.