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NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission successfully lifted off to the International Space Station on Wednesday afternoon.

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Shortly after noon ET, SpaceX announced that the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“Rise of the Falcon 9 and Dragon!” Elon Musk announced this on Twitter.

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The Endurance spacecraft is due to dock with the space station at 4:57 pm ET Thursday.

NASA and SPACEX BEGIN LAUNCH OF CREW-5 ASTRONAUTS

Its four passengers include NASA mission commander Nicole Mann and pilot Josh Kassada, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Waka, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, who safely reached orbit and opened the nose cone.

“Terrific!” Mann exclaimed as they reached orbit. “It was a smooth uphill climb. You have three newbies who are very happy to be floating in space right now.”

This is the first launch of a Russian cosmonaut from the United States in 20 years. Mann, a Marine Colonel, became the first Native American woman to orbit the Earth.

NASA astronaut Nicole Mann

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It is also the first flight for Kassada – a Navy captain – and Kikina.

SpaceX launch

The mission had previously been delayed, most recently due to Hurricane Yang.

The astronauts will return to Earth in March.

Cosmonauts Crew-5

SpaceX has launched eight crews since 2020.