NASA and SpaceX launch a new four-astronaut team to International Space Station

After being delayed a day by adverse weather along the flight path, The Crew-2 mission blasts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida

Up, up and away

The company's Crew Dragon capsule, Endeavour, soared into the darkened pre-dawn sky atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket shortly before 6 am Eastern time (1000 GMT) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, in a blastoff aired live on NASA TV.

(Photograph:Reuters)

One day's journey

The crew is due to arrive at the space station, which orbits nearly 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, early on Saturday following a flight of nearly 24 hours.

(Photograph:AFP)

Hiatus ends

The mission marks the second "operational" space station team to be launched by NASA, aboard a Dragon Crew capsule since the United States resumed flying astronauts into space from US soil last year, following a nine-year hiatus at the end of the US space shuttle programme in 2011.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Mission number 3

It is also the third crewed flight launched into orbit under NASA's fledgling public-private partnership with SpaceX — the rocket company founded and owned by Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur who is also CEO of electric car maker Tesla Inc.

The first was an out-and-back test mission carrying just two astronauts into orbit last May, followed by SpaceX's first full-fledged four-member crew in November.

(Photograph:Reuters)

The team

Friday's Crew-2 team consists of two NASA astronauts — mission commander Shane Kimbrough, 53, and pilot Megan McArthur, 49, — along with Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, 52, and fellow mission specialist Thomas Pesquet, 43, a French engineer of the European Space Agency.

(Photograph:AFP)

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