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The SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts mission lifted off in the pre-dawn hours of 3:52 a.m. ET from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It should arrive at the International Space Station at 8:15 p.m. ET.
During its 16-hour flight inside a capsule dubbed “Freedom,” the crew will orbit the Earth about 10 times, according to SpaceX.
“We thank each of you for making this possible. Now let the Falcon roar and shoot Freedom,” said NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, space commander. Minutes later, their recycled booster landed on an ocean platform and their capsule was safely orbiting the Earth. “It was a wonderful trip,” he said.
On board the spacecraft are three NASA astronauts, including Lindgren, pilot Bob Heinz, mission specialist Jessica Watkins and ESA mission specialist Samantha Christofority, NASA said.
NASA’s mission is the first with an equal number of men and women and the first long-duration flight with a black woman, Jessica Watkins.
The crew will spend five months on the International Space Station to replace three Americans and a German who will return to Earth within a week. Three Russians also live on the space station.
The crew is the fourth to fly aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and a Falcon 9 rocket, according to NASA. It’s SpaceX’s fifth flight with NASA astronauts.
The mission was postponed from last weekend due to the delay in the arrival of another mission due to the raging waves, according to Space.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.