The Crew-2 mission is the 3rd to carry people to the International room Station. “It’s good to be back in space,” said the flight’s commander.

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A SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft took off Friday morning from NASA’s Kennedy room Center in Florida, carrying four astronauts that will begin their six-month stay in space.CreditCredit...Thom Baur/Reuters
The first two launches the NASA astronauts by Elon Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX, functioned like a charm.

The third worked prefer a charm as well — a wire of successes over the previous year the is making person spaceflight look routine, as NASA and Mr. Musk’s firm intend the to.

At 5:49 a.m. Eastern time, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule lifted off from the Kennedy room Center in Florida. A smooth countdown proceeded through the early morning, and even ran front of schedule at times.

The mission, Crew-2, is moving two American, one Japanese and one French astronaut to the International an are Station. It is a continuation of a successful initiative by the space agency to revolve over to the exclusive sector the business of taking civilization to low-Earth orbit.

SpaceX conducted a show mission through two NASA astronauts, Bob Behnken and also Doug Hurley, a year ago. The capsule, called Endeavour, with the two guys then splashed under in the Atlantic s in August.

Months later, SpaceX carried out what NASA called the an initial routine to work mission for the Crew Dragon spacecraft with four astronauts onboard. The mission, Crew-1, introduced in November, and the astronauts are still plank the station, reserved to return to earth next week.

Today’s launch was the second operational mission. The Crew-2 astronauts are traveling in the same Endeavour capsule supplied in the demonstrate mission critical year.

— Kenneth Chang

At the news conference complying with Friday’s effective launch the SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, NASA’s push secretary urged anyone to store questions focused on the Crew-2 mission. However reporter ~ reporter request Elon Musk around the moon instead.

Last week, NASA vested SpaceX a $2.9 exchange rate contract to develop the lander the NASA will use to take it astronauts back to the surface of the moon, adapting a huge rocket called Starship that SpaceX has actually been arising for trips come Mars.

“It’s a good honor to be chosen by NASA to return to the moon,” Mr. Musk said.

He then expressed his really hopes for structure a long-term base ~ above the moon, climate a city ~ above Mars. “We don’t desire to be one of those single-planet species,” Mr. Musk said. “We desire to be a multi-planet species.”

Currently, the schedule because that the lunar program, Artemis, has astronauts landing top top the moon in 2024, a schedule that is widely regarded as unlikely, especially as Congress has actually not provided as lot money because that the advancement of lunar landers together NASA has requested. The an are agency had hoped come award contracts to two companies to build two various landers.

Mr. Musk listed that he had actually been “somewhat optimistic” around SpaceX schedules in the past. (Development that SpaceX rockets and also spacecraft have typically taken around twice as lengthy as Mr. Musk predictions.) but he then included that Starship can be ready to bring people in a couple of years.

“Obviously, we have to like not be making craters,” the said, and also laughed. “Otherwise, it’s like, ‘Hop in, we’re going to Mars — nope, not quite!’”

SpaceX has actually been launching a series of prototypes from its site in southerly Texas, near Brownsville. It is trying come perfect a technique whereby Starship very gently belly flops, using air resistance as a brake and then tipping increase just prior to landing. The last 4 flights have ended in fiery crashes, return one did manage to land in a single piece prior to exploding a couple of minutes later.

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“The thing that’s really important to revolutionize space is a promptly reusable rocket,” the said. “That is the gateway to the heavens.”

Still, Mr. Musk said, the 2024 target was achievable in spite of the technological challenges.

“We’re walk to construct a most rockets, and also then we’re going to more than likely smash a bunch of them,” Mr. Musk said. “But ns think it will happen. I think 2024, it seems likely.”