NASA and Space X launched four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). It is the third crewed mission of the US commercial rocket company in less than a year.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center carrying four astronauts from three countries at 5.49 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (0949 GMT).
The astronauts in the spacecraft are Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur from US, France’s Thomas Pesquet, and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide.
The spacecraft is due to arrive at the ISS early Saturday following a flight of over 23 hours.
“This is another important milestone for NASA, SpaceX, and our international partners at ESA (European Space Agency) and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and for the future of scientific research on board the space station. It will be an exciting moment to see our crews greet one another on station for our first crew handover under the Commercial Crew Program,” NASA Acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk said.
SpaceX will command the spacecraft from its mission control center in Hawthorne, California, and NASA teams will monitor space station operations throughout the flight from Mission Control Center at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
During the six-month stay aboard the spacecraft, Crew-2 members will conduct science and maintenance and will return no earlier than October 31, according to NASA.
The Crew-2 mission is the second of six crewed missions NASA and SpaceX will fly as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
(With IANS inputs)