SpaceX launches four astronauts to ISS

WASHINGTON: Four astronauts were successfully launched on the SpaceX Crew Dragon “Resilience” to the International Space Station on Sunday, the first of what the US hopes will be many routine missions following a successful test flight in late spring.
Three Americans — Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker — and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi blasted off at 7:27 pm (0027 GMT Monday) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, thus ending almost a decade of international reliance on Russia for rides on its Soyuz rockets.
“This is a great day for the United States of America, and a great day for Japan,” said Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine during a post-launch press conference. Twelve minutes after liftoff, at an altitude of 200 km and a speed of 27,000 km per hour, the capsule successfully separated from the second stage of the rocket. “That was one heck of a ride,” said mission commander Hopkins from orbit. SpaceX confirmed that it was on the right orbit to reach the ISS a little more than 27 hours later, at around 11:00 pm on Monday night (0400 GMT Tuesday), joining two Russians and one American aboard the station, and stay for six months. — AFP