SpaceX Launches First Full NASA Crew to the International Space Station

Eric Todisco
·3 min read

SpaceX has launched for takeoff — again!

Over three months after the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft rocket returned from space after its historic takeoff in May, the spacecraft, which the astronauts onboard dubbed Resilience, launched on Sunday evening at 7:49 p.m. from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida bound for the International Space Station (ISS).

The launch was pushed back twice — first to assess an engine issue with the Falcon 9 rocket and then again due to weather, according to NPR and CNBC.

NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi are all onboard. According to ABC News, they are all set to stay on the ISS for six months after the launch and help with maintenance and research.

The launch marks the second-ever crewed mission for Elon Musk's SpaceX, and the first operational flight as part of NASA's commercial crew mission.

Joel Kowsky/AP/Shutterstock

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According to the Associated Press, the crew has named their Dragon capsule Resilience due to the challenges 2020 has wrought.

“It’s been a tough year for everybody for a lot of different reasons. We felt like if the name of our vehicle could give a little hope, a little inspiration, put a smile on people’s face, then that is definitely what we wanted to do,” said Hopkins, who will serve as commander for the mission.

The astronauts will remain in orbit until the springtime, at which point their replacements will arrive onboard another SpaceX Dragon capsule. They will reportedly receive regular food and supply deliveries through a cargo version of the capsule.

John Raoux/AP/Shutterstock

SpaceX's first historic ride took off with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley from the Kennedy Space Center on May 30. It was originally scheduled for takeoff on May 27 and delayed due to weather.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence witnessed the takeoff from the Kennedy Space Center at the time.

John Raoux/AP/Shutterstock Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken

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The day after takeoff, SpaceX arrived at the International Space Station, where Behnken and Hurley were greeted with hugs from the other astronauts in space.

"It's obviously been our honor to just be a small part of this," Hurley said upon arrival in space. "We have to give credit to SpaceX, the commercial crew program, and of course NASA. It's great to get the United States back in the crew launch business and we're just really glad to be on board this magnificent complex."

On Aug. 2, SpaceX returned to Earth after splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida after departing its port in space at 9:20 a.m. that morning.