NEW DELHI: NASA and Elon Musk's commercial rocket company SpaceX launched a new four-astronaut crew to the International Space Station today making them the first crew to be propelled into orbit by a rocket booster recycled from a previous spaceflight.
The company's Crew Dragon capsule, the Endeavour, was set for liftoff atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 5:49 a.m. Eastern time (0949 GMT) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The nearly 24-hour journey to the space station, which orbits about 250 miles (400 kilometres) above Earth, was scheduled to begin yesterday but was postponed by a day due to unfavourable weather forecasts along the rocket's flight path.
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According to launch commentators, the rocket's second stage delivered the crew capsule to Earth orbit within 10 minutes of launch, travelling at nearly 17,000 miles per hour.
Meteorologists predicted a 90 % chance of favourable weather at the launch site, with improving conditions along the flight path, for the rescheduled launch window today.
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The mission is the second "operational" space station team launched by NASA aboard a Dragon Crew capsule since the United States resumed flying astronauts into space from U.S soil last year, following a nine-year-long break at the end of the U.S. space shuttle programme in 2011.
It is also the third crewed flight launched into orbit as part of NASA's fledgling public-private partnership with SpaceX, the rocket company founded and owned by Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur and CEO of electric carmaker Tesla Inc.
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