NASA Astronauts in SpaceX after take off 305020 CREDIT NASA YouTube.jpg

SpaceX: US Air Force Colonel And Retired Marine Reach International Space Station

NASA Astronauts in SpaceX after take off 305020 CREDIT NASA YouTube.jpg

A US Air Force colonel and a retired marine have reached the International Space Station on Sunday afternoon.

The two NASA astronauts lifted off from Cape Canaveral, in Florida, on Saturday.

Colonel Robert L. Behnken and retired Colonel Douglas G. Hurley are the first NASA astronauts to be carried into orbit by a commercially-produced spacecraft.

The two lifted off from NASA's Launch Complex 39A aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft, marking the first human launch from US soil in nearly a decade.

The launch is a commercial enterprise between NASA and SpaceX, Elon Musk’s enterprise that designs, manufactures and launches rockets and spacecraft.

After travelling for 19 hours into space, Behnken and Hurley docked on the International Space Station on board Crew Dragon.

Behnken and Hurley will perform tests aboard the Crew Dragon and the space station as part of its Expedition 63 crew.

SpaceX NASA launch from florida 300520 CREDIT NASA.jpg
Dragon Crew launched from Florida on Saturday (Picture: NASA/YouTube).

During take-off, Crew Dragon sat atop reusable rocket Falcon 9.

It was the first time Falcon 9 carried humans into orbit, reaching speeds as high as 17,000 mph.

As the Crew Dragon is a commercially-produced spacecraft, the mission will help NASA certify the craft for further missions to the space station.

Royal Air Force personnel from RAF Fylingdales helped track Crew Dragon, sharing the information with the Space Operations Centre at Headquarters Air Command.

Cover image: US Astronauts Behnken and Hurley inside Crew Dragon on 30 May (Picture: NASA/YouTube).

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