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History made: NASA, SpaceX launch American astronauts from US soil on Crew Dragon

The Crew Dragon capsule launch is the first crewed mission from U.S. soil since the end of the Space Shuttle era in 2011.
Credit: AP Photo/David J. Philip
A SpaceX Falcon 9, with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the Dragon crew capsule, lifts off from Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Saturday, May 30, 2020. For the first time in nearly a decade, astronauts blasted towards orbit aboard an American rocket from American soil, a first for a private company.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — History was made at 3:22 p.m. EST on Saturday, May 30, 2020.

That is when two American astronauts blasted into space aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.

Wednesday's first launch attempt was scrubbed because of the weather.

It's been nine years since American astronauts have launched from U.S. soil. And, it's never happened aboard a private rocket and spacecraft. That has changed now that astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have launched to the International Space Station in the Crew Dragon capsule on top of a Falcon 9 rocket.

Watch the liftoff:

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PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Historic NASA, SpaceX launch scrubbed, astronauts will try again Saturday

Here are the latest updates from NASA, SpaceX and the astronauts:

11:33 a.m. EST (June 1)

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley and Chris Cassidy are answering questions from the International Space Station.

6:56 p.m. EST

Astronauts Behnken and Hurley chat in from aboard the Crew Dragon capsule. The two NASA astronauts said they've named this Dragon "Endeavour."

6:30 p.m. EST

NASA and SpaceX leaders are holding a briefing following the historic Crew Dragon launch. And, there is supposed to be an appearance by astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who are inside the Crew Dragon capsule headed to the International Space Station. 

5 p.m. EST

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are set to speak at the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center after the historic launch.

"America is again leading in space," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said after the launch.

4:15 p.m. EST

The phase burn has started, putting the Crew Dragon spacecraft on its path to dock with the International Space Station around 10:29 a.m. EST tomorrow.

4:07 p.m. EST

About two minutes before launch, astronaut Chris Cassidy took this photo of Kennedy Space Center from about 250 miles up. Cassidy is on the International Space Station awaiting the arrival of astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who just launched on Crew Dragon.

Credit: NASA

3:45 p.m. EST

NASA Administrator speaks after the successful launch of Crew Dragon and astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley:

"I've heard that rumble before, but it's a whole different feeling when you've got your own team on that rocket. They are our team. They are America's team. This is Launch American," he said.

3:35 p.m. EST

Dragon separation confirmed. The astronauts are headed to the International Space station.

3:33 p.m. EST

The Falcon 9 booster has successfully landed on SpaceX's Of Course I Still Love You droneship out in the Atlantic Ocean.

3:30 p.m. EST

Main engine cutoff and second stage separation. Astronauts Behnken and Hurley are heading into Earth orbit.

3:27 p.m. EST

Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 are supersonic.

3:22 p.m. EST

LIFTOFF! 

NASA and SpaceX just made history by launch American astronauts from U.S. soil for the first time in nine years.

Credit: AP Photo/David J. Philip
A SpaceX Falcon 9, with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the Dragon crew capsule, lifts off from Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Saturday, May 30, 2020. For the first time in nearly a decade, astronauts blasted towards orbit aboard an American rocket from American soil, a first for a private company.

3:17 p.m.

Falcon 9 engine chill has begun. 

3:14 p.m. EST

"Enjoy those views of our beautiful planet," the SpaceX team says to astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken.

3:12 p.m. EST

Ten minutes out from the launch of Crew Dragon. 

Controllers can abort the launch with as little as 30 seconds left in the countdown if weather or something else goes wrong.

The next big step is the Falcon 9 beginning engine chill prior to liftoff. Then, the Dragon capsule will transition to internal power.

3:02 p.m. EST

Twenty minutes out from launch of Crew Dragon.

2:47 p.m. EST

The next big step loading rocket grade kerosene into the Falcon 9 rocket and loading liquid oxygen into its first stage. After that, just after 3 p.m., the second stage of the rocket is loaded with liquid oxygen.

2:40 p.m. EST

The crew access arm is being retracted and the astronauts are closing their visors. The launch escape system is now being armed.

The launch escape system gives the astronauts the ability to escape from the capsule from the time of launch all the way to orbit after liftoff.

2:36 p.m. EST

The SpaceX launch director says, "weather is GO at this time."

Up next is the readiness poll where the team will decide GO or NO GO for launch. And, the crew access arm will be retracted.

2:22 p.m. EST

One hour until launch. 

"Bob and I are GO for launch," astronaut Doug Hurley said to the SpaceX communications team.

Next up is the GO or NO GO poll and the retraction of the crew access arm.

1:42 p.m. EST

SpaceX ground control is monitoring rain around Kennedy Space Center, but there's still a reasonable chance of a launch today. The next decision is just before SpaceX begins loading propellants into the two-stage Falcon 9 rocket.

1:15 p.m. EST

The hatch of Crew Dragon is closed with astronauts Behnken and Hurley strapped in inside. The SpaceX team is now doing leak checks of the hatch ahead of liftoff. 

Credit: NASA Commercial Crew

1:07 p.m. EST

The next big moment on the launch timeline is the hatch closure of Crew Dragon with both astronauts inside. After that, the SpaceX Launch Director deems it go for propellant load.

12:53 p.m. EST

The seats in Crew Dragon are now in the launch position, tilted back so that astronauts Behnken and Hurley can see and work with the SpaceX touch screens and controls.

12:35 p.m. EST

The astronauts are boarding the Crew Dragon spacecraft. They are accompanied by a SpaceX crew that will help them get safely situated inside the capsule ahead of launch. 

The final stop before getting in Crew Dragon is "the white room," which at the very end of the crew access arm. The process of boarding the spacecraft is called ingress.

12:30 p.m. EST

Behnken and Hurley are now at the launch pad and have climbed up to the crew access arm at the top of the Falcon 9 rocket. They're making their phone calls back down to their families for a last goodbye before they head into the Crew Dragon spacecraft.

12:15 p.m. EST

Here's what the astronauts are listening to on their ride over to the launch pad, which holds the Falcon 9 rocket topped with the Crew Dragon capsule:

  • "Back in Black," ACDC
  • "Girl From Ipanema" from the Blues Brothers film
  • "The Star-Spangled Banner"

NASA said it's about a 9-mile drive to Launch Pad 39A and takes about 20 minutes.

12:00 p.m. EST

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley just walked out of the historic doors at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy Space Center.

They're all suited up and now headed to Launch Pad 39A in two twin Tesla Model X cars adorned with NASA's "meatball" and "worm" logos.

11:00 a.m. EST

NASA begins live coverage of the historic SpaceX Crew Dragon launch. 

Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard visited astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the suit-up room before their trip to the launch pad.

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