Godspeed! SpaceX launches 4 astronauts to the International Space Station
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - SpaceX’s Crew-2 is headed for the International Space Station after a successful pre-dawn launch on Friday.
The Falcon 9 rocket thundered into the morning sky from Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 5:49 a.m. ET.
"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.
Live coverage of the SpaceX Crew-2 mission is ongoing on Good Day Orlando.
Before the liftoff, NASA tweeted a video of the International Space Station flying over the Kennedy Space Center.
The mission marks SpaceX’s third crewed flight in partnership with NASA, following its previous launch Crew-1 and Demo-2 missions. The launch also marks 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. This will be the first mission to fly two international partner crew members as part of the agency's commercial crew program.
NASA said that the crew will spend six months in space. At the ISS, they will join Crew-1 NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi. In addition, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov are also there.
RELATED: Meet the astronauts going on the NASA, SpaceX Crew-2 mission
For nearly a decade, the only route to the space station for astronauts was on Russian rockets. NASA turned to private companies for taxi service after the space shuttles retired in 2011. SpaceX has been shipping cargo to the space station since 2012, using the same kind of rocket and similar capsules, and recycling those parts as well.
Watch FOX 35 News for updates on the mission.