Via Euronews: Watch live: SpaceX makes history as it’s first private company sending astronauts into orbit
Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are on their way to the International Space Station after a successful rocket launch from Cape Canaveral, US.
The mission made history, as it is not just NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from US soil in nearly a decade, but also the first launch of astronauts into orbit by a private company – Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
US President Donald Trump attended the launch too.
The Falcon 9 lifted off at 21.22 CET on Saturday (May 30), after a first attempt failed on Wednesday because of the threat of lightning.
Forecasters had put the odds of acceptable conditions at 50-50 for the new liftoff of the 270-foot.
SpaceX and NASA monitored the weather not just at Kennedy Space Center, where rain, thick clouds and the chance of lightning threatened another postponement, but all the way up the Eastern Seaboard and across the North Atlantic to Ireland.
Ever since the space shuttle was retired in 2011, NASA has relied on Russian spaceships launched from Kazakhstan to take US astronauts to and from the space station.null
NASA hired SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 to taxi astronauts to and from the space station, under contracts totalling $7 billion.
Both companies launched their crew capsules last year with test dummies.
SpaceX’s Dragon aced all of its objectives, while Boeing’s Starliner capsule ended up in the wrong orbit and was almost destroyed because of software errors.
As a result, the first Starliner flight carrying astronauts isn’t expected until next year.