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.
Falcon 9’s first stage booster has landed on the Just Read the Instructions droneship! pic.twitter.com/HSFJKpR4Rm— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 16, 2020
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.
Update: Due to onshore winds and recovery operations, @NASA and @SpaceX are targeting launch of the Crew-1 mission with astronauts to the @Space_Station at 7:27 p.m. EST Sunday, Nov. 15. The first stage booster is planned to be reused to fly astronauts on Crew-2. #LaunchAmerica— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) November 13, 2020
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.