SpaceX rocket carrying 4 astronauts successfully takes off into space

SpaceX, the rocket company of high-tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, took off from the International Space Station on Monday with four astronauts.

This is NASA's first full-fledged mission to send a crew into orbit over a privately-owned spacecraft.

SpaceX’s newly designed Crew Dragon capsule, which the crew has dubbed Resilience, lifted off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 7:27 p.m. Eastern time (0027 GMT on Monday) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The mission is significant because this is the first fully operational mission for a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. It is the second astronaut launch for SpaceX. It may be recalled that SpaceX's first Crew Dragon took off with two NASA astronauts – Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley in May. However, that mission was to consider a test mission.

Today, four astronauts have gone into space – three from the United States and one from Japan. The three American astronauts are NASA's Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and the fourth astronaut is Sochi Noguchi of the Japan Space Agency (JAXA).

Moments after the liftoff of SpaceX's capsule, US President-elect Joe Biden took to Twitter and congratulated the team on its launch. He wrote, “Congratulations to NASA and SpaceX on today’s launch. It’s a testament to the power of science and what we can accomplish by harnessing our innovation, ingenuity, and determination. I join all Americans and the people of Japan in wishing the astronauts Godspeed on their journey”.

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