SpaceX Rocket Blasts Off In Historic First Crewed Mission By Private Firm.

SpaceX Rocket Blasts Off In Historic First Crewed Mission By Private Firm

The Falcon 9 rocket sent two veteran NASA astronauts to the International Space Station

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying two veteran NASA astronauts lifted off on Saturday on a historic first private crewed flight into space.

The two-stage SpaceX rocket with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard blasted off smoothly in a cloud of orange flames and smoke from Launch Pad 39A at Florida's Kennedy Space Center for the 19-hour voyage to the International Space Station.

The first crewed flight from US soil since the space shuttle program ended in 2011 had originally been scheduled for Wednesday but was delayed because of weather conditions, which also remained uncertain on Saturday right up until liftoff at 3:22 pm (1922 GMT).

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