A four-member international crew is in orbit following a successful launch to the International Space Station on Saturday, US space agency NASA announced.
The launch took place at 3:27 a.m. EDT (0727GMT) from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA said in a statement.
The agency said that NASA's SpaceX Crew-7 mission is the seventh commercial crew rotation mission to the International Space Station.
Tech mogul Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the Dragon spacecraft into orbit carrying one NASA astronaut along with a European Space Agency astronaut, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut, and a Russian cosmonaut for a science expedition aboard the orbital laboratory, NASA said.
“The crew will conduct more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations to prepare for missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
According to the statement, the Dragon spacecraft – named Endurance – will dock autonomously to the space-facing port of the station at 8:39 a.m. (1239GMT) on Sunday.
The Endurance’s crew will join the space station’s Expedition 69 crew of NASA astronauts and Roscosmos cosmonauts, it added.
According to NASA, with the arrival of the SpaceX Crew-7, the number of crew members on the International Space Station will rise to 11 until the departure of Crew-6 members in a few days.