SpaceX launches crew of four to the International Space Station

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the companys Crew Dragon spacecraft lifts off from pad 39A for the Crew-6 mission at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, early on Thursday. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

SpaceX launched four new crewmembers on a journey to the International Space Station Thursday.

Why it matters: The mission marks SpaceX's seventh crewed trip to the space station for NASA, continuing to affirm the company as one of the space agency's most important partners.

Details: The Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Crew Dragon took flight from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 12:34am ET Thursday.

  • The spacecraft is carrying NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, and United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, plus Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev to the ISS.
  • The Crew Dragon is expected to dock to the ISS early Friday.
  • This is the first spaceflight for Hoburg, Al Neyadi and Fedyaev, and it marks Bowen's fourth spaceflight. They are expected to spend about six months on the station.
  • The launch was delayed from Monday after a ground systems issue scuttled that launch attempt.

What's next: Boeing is expected to fly its first crewed mission to the ISS in April.

  • The company has faced a series of technical setbacks and delays, but Boeing and NASA said last week that the company's preparations for flight are going well and they're moving ahead toward a launch in mid or late April.

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