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NASA, SpaceX launch first crew rotation mission to space

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SpaceX has become the first private company to launch astronauts to the International Space Station, marking the culmination of years of work in partnership with NASA on developing human spaceflight capabilities.

The three American astronauts are NASA's Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker and the fourth astronaut is Soichi Noguchi from Japanese space agency (Jaxa).

By Kenneth ChangIn Florida on Sunday, a rocket and capsule built by SpaceX is set to carry crew members to the International Space Station.

This schedule of key launch countdown events has been prepared for the Sunday, November 15, 2020 SpaceX and NASA Crew-1 launch.

Crew-1 members named the space capsule for this mission "Resilience". The leak was finally repaired by and a successful leak check was conducted before the scheduled take off.

SpaceX mission operator Jay Aranha, speaking from the company's Hawthorne, California headquarters, told the crew to "have an unbelievable trip, and know that we are all for one". Additionally, they'll be growing radishes, the latest experiment to explore whether food can be grown in space.

The system is expected to serve as a successor to NASA's Space Shuttle program that was in service for 30 years through 2011, ending years of reliance on the Russian Soyuz vehicle as the sole means of accessing the ISS.

Right now, however, SpaceX is the major launch provider for NASA, and there will be Falcon 9 launches to and from the ISS every six months.

"[I am] choked up a little bit thinking about the folks that have spent years of their lives getting ready for this mission, and being able to see the crew fly today was just phenomenal", NASA human spaceflight's head Kathy Lueders said in a post-launch press conference.

"That was one heck of a ride", astronaut Mike Hopkins said from Crew Dragon to SpaceX mission control about an hour after liftoff.

Time in space: Walker has logged one previous mission in space.

Once the mission is over, Crew-1 astronauts will board Crew Dragon, which will autonomously undock and depart the space station after which it will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. It is largely perceived as a historic milestone since this SpaceX flight is the first private ISS mission certified by NASA to transport astronauts to and from space.

"Resilience rises. The Crew-1 mission has lifted off on a Falcon 9 rocket from @NASAKennedy at 7:27pm ET and is en route to the @Space_Station".

Following the rocket's launch into orbit, President Donald Trump responded to the news on Twitter.

About 4 p.m. ET, the four astronauts said goodbye to their families and began a Tesla cars with license plates ride L8RERTH to the launchpad.

Since 1970s, the United States space agency relies on Russian Soyuz rockets to bring its astronauts to the ISS, which has now become increasingly costly with over $90 million a seat while it costs $57 million SpaceX to launch a rocket.

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