SpaceX successfully launches astronauts onboard a recycled rocket – watch

SpaceX launch Dragon’s second operational crew mission

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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched without a problem at around 10.50am BST on April 23. Footage shows the rocket creating a huge plume of fire as it made its way off the ground. As it headed towards orbit, the rocket reached speeds exceeding 4,000 kilometres per hour.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet are all on board the Crew-2 capsule which has now separated from the rocket.

This is the first time that astronauts have been sent into space on a recycled rocket.

The Falcon 9 completed the same mission in November 2020 when it launched Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to and from the ISS.

Using recycled rockets will make space travel much cheaper as each rocket will not have to be purpose-built for every launch.

The Falcon 9 could be used again after it successfully landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which is stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

The quartet of astronauts are now floating through space until they reach the ISS tomorrow morning.

SpaceX fans were undeniably delighted with the launch, taking to Twitter to express their joy.

One person wrote on Twitter: “Congratulations what a treat to watch safe journey.”

Another said: “So cool to see @SpaceX heading into orbit this morning.”

A third stated: “Amazing show! @SpaceX #Endeavor crew hitting the sun over the Atlantic Ocean! Seen from Boca Raton, Florida.”

The Crew Dragon is expected to reach the ISS at approximately 10.10am BST tomorrow.

The astronauts will then enjoy a six-month stint on the ISS before being returned to Earth on the Crew-2.

SpaceX said: “This will be the first time Dragon will fly two international partners and it will also be the first time two Crew Dragons are attached simultaneously to the orbiting laboratory.

“After an approximate six-month stay, Dragon and the Crew-2 astronauts will depart from the space station no earlier than October 31 for return to Earth and splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.”

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