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Astronaut crew heads to orbit on Nasa SpaceX launch

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft launches for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission, to the International Space Station, at the John F. Kennedy Space Center, on Merritt Island, Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, 15 November 2020.

Four astronauts – three from the US and one from Japan – have launched from Florida on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The crew rode to orbit in a rocket and capsule provided by the SpaceX company.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft launches for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission, to the International Space Station, at the John F. Kennedy Space Center, on Merritt Island, Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. EPA-EFE/CJ GUNTHER

The Crew-1 astronauts, aboard the spacecraft named ‘Resilience,’ are to rendezvous with the ISS on 16 November 2020.

It’s only the second time the firm has supplied the service.

The US space agency Nasa has said it is now entering a new era in which routine astronaut journeys to low-Earth orbit are being conducted by commercial providers.

The four individuals making their way up to the ISS are the Americans Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and the highly experienced Japanese space agency (Jaxa) astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

The SpaceX crew members, NASA astronauts (L-R), Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi wave as they exit the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building enroute to the Falcon 9 rocket at Launch Complex 39A at the John F. Kennedy Space Center, on Merritt Island, Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, 15 November 2020. EPA-EFE/CJ GUNTHER

By participating in this mission, Noguchi becomes only the third person in history to leave Earth in three different types of space vehicle, having previously flown on Soyuz and shuttle hardware.

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