NASA and Elon Musk’s commercial rocket company, SpaceX launched four astronauts on a flight to the International Space Station on Friday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and it is the first crew ever propelled towards orbit by a rocket booster recycled from a previous spaceflight, according to Reuters.
The astronauts from the U.S., Japan and France should reach the International Space Station early Saturday morning, following a 23-hour ride in the same Dragon capsule used by SpaceX’s debut crew last May and they’ll spend six months at the orbiting lab.
It’s the first launch with two international partners as part of NASA’s commercial crew programme in collaboration with Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
The team consists of two NASA astronauts – mission commander Shane Kimbrough and pilot Megan McArthur, along with Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and fellow mission specialist Thomas Pesquet a French engineer of the European Space Agency according to The Herald.
It is the third crew flight launched towards orbit in less than a year under NASA’s public-private partnership with SpaceX, the rocket company founded and owned by Elon Musk.