SpaceX founder Elon Musk celebrates after the successful launch of Demo-2.
On Saturday afternoon, SpaceX successfully launched two NASA astronauts into Earth’s orbit using its newest Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket. The launch marked the first-ever human spaceflight on a commercially built spacecraft and the first launch of an American crew from U.S. soil since 2011.
After a planned Thursday launch was delayed by bad weather, the rocket blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Fla. at 3:22 p.m. EDT on Saturday. After two stages of successful separations in space, the Crew Dragon capsule entered Earth orbit and docked with the International Space Station 19 hours later, on Sunday morning.
The astronauts on board, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, were welcomed by three fellow astronauts already on the ISS: NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. They will stay for up to three months to conduct scientific research.
The mission won’t officially be successful until Hurley and Behnken return safely to Earth. But everything is going according to the plan so far. Below are the most memorable moments from Saturday’s historic launch and Sunday’s breathtaking action in space.
NASA astronaut Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken say goodbye to family members on their way to the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center.
Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken get ready for liftoff inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.
The Falcon 9 rocket carrying Crew Dragon capsule blasted off from launch pad 39A, the same launch site for 1969’s Apollo 11 mission, which sent men to the Moon.
President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence watch the launch from the balcony of Operations Support Building II at the Kennedy Space Center.
SpaceX Founder Elon Musk hugs his brother, Kimbal Musk, in celebration of the successful launch.
Stage one of the Falcon 9 Rocket returns and lands at SpaceX’s drone ship, “Of Course I Still Love You.”
Crew Dragon spacecraft separates from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket.
Crew Dragon successfully docks with the ISS at 10:16 a.m. EDT on Sunday, 19 hours after liftoff.