Trump calls launch of the NASA/SpaceX rocket a 'beautiful sight'


The SpaceX Crew Dragon launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on May 30, marking the first time American astronauts were launched into space from U.S. soil in almost a decade.

The spacecraft, developed by USA firm SpaceX, lifted off from the state of Florida on Saturday, aboard the Falcon 9 rocket.

The two NASA astronauts onboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Spacecraft are Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken. The duo will remain on the space station for somewhere between a few weeks and a few months, depending on what NASA decides after they arrive.

The launch took place on the second attempt for the Demo-2 mission, after the first attempt May 27 was scrubbed less than 20 minutes before the scheduled liftoff because of inclement weather.

Since the mothballing of the U.S. shuttle programme in 2011 Russia's more basic and reliable Soyuz spacecraft has been exclusively responsible for transporting crews to the ISS from its Baikonur launchpad in Kazakhstan.

"For operational missions, Crew Dragon will be able to launch as many as four crew members and carry more than 220 pounds of cargo, enabling the expansion of the inhabitants of the space station, increasing the time dedicated to research in the unique microgravity environment, and returning more science back to Earth".

NASA hired SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 to taxi astronauts to and from the space station, under contracts totaling $7 billion.

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Behnken and Hurley were going through the same preparations Saturday that they went through on Wednesday.

SpaceX and NASA managers monitored the weather not just at Kennedy Space Center but all the way up the Eastern Seaboard and across the North Atlantic to Ireland.

Musk, the South African-born high-tech entrepreneur who made his fortune in Silicon Valley, is also CEO of electric carmaker and battery manufacturer Tesla Inc.

President Donald Trump offered congratulatory remarks after the launch of the NASA/SpaceX rocket on Saturday afternoon, calling it a "beautiful sight". At 04:55 p.m. EDT (01:55 p.m. PDT), the astronauts will take control of Crew Dragon for the first of two manual flight tests created to show that astronauts can take control in the event of a system's failure. "With everything that's going on in this country right now, it's important that we do things extraordinary in life", Wight said.

Elon Musk, with an assist from NASA, opened up space for private business Saturday when two veteran astronauts shot off in orbit on the first-ever manned commercial space flight. The capsule hopes to dock at the space station on Sunday at about 10:29 a.m. ET.

Musk's brand was everywhere at Cape Canaveral Saturday, not just on his Crew Dragon capsule.

NASA astronauts Douglas G. Hurley and Robert L. Behnken are the duo traveling in the rocket; they will launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Dubbed Demo-2, this is a test flight.