20 photos from Saturday’s historic SpaceX launch toward the International Space Station

20 photos from Saturday’s historic SpaceX launch toward the International Space Station”

"When Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a mission to the ISS, they added their names to the long list of heroes who have changed the way we think about our universe and our place in it", he said.

Image Source: John Raoux/AP/ShutterstockSpaceX Falcon 9, with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the Dragon crew capsule, lifts off Saturday afternoon.

The mission unfolded amid the gloom of the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed over 100,000 Americans, and racial unrest across the US over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Asked why he felt it was important to be in Florida for the launch, given all that is going on in the country, Trump said the launch was a "great inspiration" for the country. He founded Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies, in 2002.

"I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn't nervous, " NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said.

After docking, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will remain on the station for up to four months to assist the one NASA astronaut currently on the station, Chris Cassidy, while the next Crew Dragon is prepared for a launch now scheduled for no earlier than August 30.

However, today's launch went without any major technical problems as Demo-2's Crew Dragon capsule rose from the pad atop a Falcon 9 rocket, marking two historic events.

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

How to Watch the SpaceX Crew Dragon Launch

"It's something we maybe dreamed about when we were new [astronaut candidates] - flying something other than the space shuttle", Behnken said. Since then, NASA astronauts have had to hitch rides into orbit aboard Russia's Soyuz spacecraft.

"When you hear that sound and you hear all of that roar, you can imagine how unsafe it is", Trump said. Hurley blew kisses to his 10-year-old son and wife.

The good news comes after Wednesday's launch was scrubbed. Sadly, the forecast for Sunday doesn't look fantastic, either, with the Air Force assigning a 40 per cent chance of favourable launch conditions.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifting off from Kennedy Space Center on Saturday (local time).

According to the US military's 45th Space Wing, which oversees rocket launches, there is a 50% chance that the weather will be suitable for today's launch. They were joined by more than 3 million viewers online, according to NASA's count, and more spectators in person who lined beaches and roads nearby.

At the center's tourist complex, all 4,000 tickets on sale for the launch sold out within hours.

He said the aim for the launch is to "give hope for many people who need it right now, and also to unite our country and the world". "We've been bombarded with doom and gloom for the last six, eight weeks, whatever it is, and this is awesome".

High above the Earth, the Crew Dragon jettisoned moments later from the second-stage rocket, sending the capsule on its way to the space station.

More news: Federal Protective Service officer killed in Oakland shooting amid protests

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