Written byShubham Sharma
The flight marks the first human space mission for the Elon Musk-owned private spacefaring company and a major step forward for America's manned space program, which aims to land the first woman on the Moon by 2024.
Here are more details.
In the wee hours of Sunday, at around 12:54 am IST, SpaceX launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station, marking the first-ever manned space launch from the American soil in nine years.
The astronauts, sitting aboard the company's Crew Dragon, lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on a Falcon 9 rocket and are now en-route to ISS.
After lift-off, the first and second stages of Falcon 9 fired and then detached, taking the Crew Dragon into the orbit.
Here, the astronauts are slated to take control and test the onboard systems of craft as it automatically flies towards the space station, which is orbiting at 27,000km/h, over 400 kilometers above Earth.
After reaching and docking with the ISS, the astronauts will join the Expedition 63 crew and start conducting research and other tasks in space.
The duration of their stay is not determined, but it is expected to be shorter than 110 days, given that the Crew Dragon being used for this flight test can stay healthy in orbit only for that amount of time.
The mission marks a major milestone as it has returned crewed space launch capabilities back to NASA.
The space agency has not been able to launch humans since its Shuttle program retired in 2011.
In these nine years, NASA has had to pay Russia millions of dollars to fly American astronauts to the ISS on its Soyuz spacecraft.
Once Crew Dragon successfully completes its astronaut transport and return mission, NASA will certify SpaceX to fly operational, long-duration missions to the space station and back.
The flights will help with the commercialization of the ISS and also lay the groundwork for future deep-space exploration of the Moon through the Artemis mission in 2024 and then Mars.
Love Science news?
Subscribe to stay updated.