18:15 GMT23 November 2020
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    The SpaceX "Resilience" Crew Dragon manned mission is taking four astronauts for a six-month stay on the ISS, after the SpaceX Demo-2 mission took NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS in May this year.

    The SpaceX "Resilience" commercial crew mission to the International Space Station (ISS) has launched on a Falcon 9 rocket, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said on Sunday.

    The launched was carried out from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7.27 pm ET [00:27 GMT on Monday].

    Nine minutes later, the first stage successfully landed on SpaceX' drone ship "Just Read the Instructions" in the Atlantic Ocean, NASA said.

    The SpaceX Crew-1 mission is carrying US astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi from Japan for a six-month stay on the ISS.

    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", he said.

    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. The launch of the "Resilience" mission was initially scheduled for Saturday evening but was delayed until Sunday because of high onshore winds. The rough sea conditions are a problem for the launch, since they stand in the way of the drone ship successfully reaching the discarded first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket.

    Dragon is the only spacecraft existing today that is capable of returning significant amounts of cargo to Earth, according to SpaceX, and in case of emergency, it is capable of ensuring the safety of the astronauts on board.

    Tags:
    astronauts, space, Elon Musk, Falcon 9, US
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