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SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets Crew-2 astronauts off Earth in a blaze of glory

Another successful Falcon 9 rocket launch started four astronauts on their way to the International Space Station.

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This is the second time the Crew Dragon Endeavour has carried astronauts into space.

NASA

NASA's Commercial Crew Program era is well under way. In the early-morning hours Friday, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket roared to life and launched four astronauts on a journey to the International Space Station. 

After being delayed for a day due to weather, the Crew-2 mission had a picture-perfect liftoff in the dark from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2:49 a.m. PT. NASA said the skies over Kennedy "lit up like a sunrise." This is the third crewed launch for a SpaceX capsule.

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NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough are crewmates on the Crew Dragon (named "Endeavour") along with the European Space Agency's Thomas Pesquet and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.    

"What a ride! Trips up to space never get old," Kimbrough tweeted on Friday.

Crew-2 marks the second operational Crew Dragon mission, coming on the heels of the crewed Demo-2 test flight and the Crew-1 mission in late 2020. Endeavour was used for the historic Demo-2 journey to the ISS and it's not the only SpaceX gear that's notching up another flight. The Falcon 9 rocket reused a booster from Crew-1, making this mission a sort of greatest-hits compilation of hardware.

It will take Endeavour roughly a day to reach the ISS with docking scheduled for around 2:10 a.m. PT on Saturday. NASA TV will continue to provide live coverage through the arrival.

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