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SpaceX successfully launches NASA's Crew-4 astronauts bound for International Space Station

air-and-space successfully launched four air-and-space bound for the International Space Station early Wednesday onboard a SpaceX rocket.

The SpaceX Crew-4 astronaut mission lifted off in the pre-dawn hours of 3:52 a.m. ET from the Kennedy Space Center in us-regions It should arrive at the ISS at 8:15 p.m. ET. 

During their 16-hour flight inside a capsule dubbed “freedom,” the crew will orbit the Earth around 10 times, according to SpaceX. 

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 39-A Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. 

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 39-A Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. 
(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

“Our heartfelt thank you to every one of you that made this possible. Now let Falcon roar and Freedom ring,” radioed NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, the commander. Minutes later, their recycled booster had landed on an ocean platform and their capsule was safely orbiting Earth. “It was a great ride,” he said.

FIRST ALL-PRIVATE ASTRONAUT TEAM ABOARD SPACE STATION HEADS FOR SPLASHDOWN 

A SpaceX Falcon rocket sits on Launch Complex 39A Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. 

A SpaceX Falcon rocket sits on Launch Complex 39A Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. 
(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Onboard the spacecraft are three NASA astronauts, including Lindgren, Pilot Bob Hines, and Mission Specialist Jessica Watkins and the European Space Agency’s Mission Specialist Samantha Cristoforetti, NASA said. 

The NASA mission is the first with an equal number of men and women and the first long-term flight with a Black woman, Jessica Watkins.

SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts, from left, pilot Bob Hines, mission specialist Jessica Watkins, commander Kjell Lindgren, and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, of Italy, wave as they leave the Operations and Checkout Building for a trip to Launch Complex 39-A Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. 

SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts, from left, pilot Bob Hines, mission specialist Jessica Watkins, commander Kjell Lindgren, and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, of Italy, wave as they leave the Operations and Checkout Building for a trip to Launch Complex 39-A Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. 
(AP Photo/John Raoux)

The crew will spend five months at the ISS, replacing three Americans and a German who will return to Earth in a week. Three Russians also live at the space station.

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The SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts, from left, mission specialist Jessica Watkins, pilot Bob Hines, commander Kjell Lindgren, and mission specialist, European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, of Italy, get together after leaving the Operations and Checkout Building for a trip to Launch Complex 39-A Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts, from left, mission specialist Jessica Watkins, pilot Bob Hines, commander Kjell Lindgren, and mission specialist, European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, of Italy, get together after leaving the Operations and Checkout Building for a trip to Launch Complex 39-A Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
(AP Photo/John Raoux)

The crew is the fourth to fly on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket, according to NASA. It is the fifth SpaceX flight with NASA astronauts. 

The mission was delayed from last weekend because another mission’s splashdown was delayed by rough seas, according to Space.com. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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