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SpaceX Crew Dragon with two NASA astronauts docks with International Space Station

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Ever since the space shuttle was retired in 2011, NASA has relied on Russian spaceships launched from Kazakhstan to take USA astronauts to and from the space station. Behnken and Hurley said in a brief NASA TV session early May 31 that the spacecraft was working well.

It will take Falcon 9 nine minutes to reach orbit and then Crew Dragon will have a 19-hour journey to the International Space Station once it separates from the rocket.

It also marked the first time that commercially developed space vehicles - owned and operated by a private entity rather than NASA - have carried Americans into orbit.

Crew members for that mission are to be NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. That will be the first time astronauts will have landed this way since 1975, before the days of the Space Shuttle program.

Weather at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is to blame for the postponement.

The preparations took place in the shadow of the coronavirus outbreak that has killed an estimated 100,000 Americans.

"We're launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil".

Still, Musk said he wasn't nervous about the launch on Saturday the way he was during the previous attempt.

"We're just happy to be here and [Cassidy] is going to put us to work". The flight was scrubbed.

"Let's light this candle", Hurley said just before liftoff. He said he told them: "We've done everything we can to make sure your dads come back OK".

NASA pushed ahead with the launch despite the viral outbreak but kept the guest list at Kennedy extremely limited and asked spectators to stay at home.

She said the children had faint memories of watching in person one of the last shuttle launches nearly a decade ago when they were preschoolers.

Behnken and Hurley don't know how long they will be on the space station. "It's exciting and hopeful". Pacific time. "Hard capture" occurred about 10 minutes later, with the capsule firmly attaching to the station via 12 latches to create an airtight seal between Crew Dragon and the space station.

Following a successful SpaceX Demo-2 mission, NASA and SpaceX hope to use the Crew Dragon to send and return astronauts to the ISS on a regular basis.

As a result, the first Starliner flight carrying astronauts isn't expected until next year.

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