A private company has launched the first full taxi flight to NASA, SpaceX Four astronauts to the International Space Station.
The Falcon rocket from the Kennedy Space Center thundered at night.
The Dragon capsule above – named by its crew Reliance in light of several challenges this year, particularly Covid-19 – will arrive at the space station on Tuesday morning UK time and remain there until spring.
NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Sochi Noguchi took off at 12.27am UK time on Monday.
Due to the virus itself, SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk tweeted that there was a moderate case of Kovid-19 and was forced to monitor the action from a distance.
The flight to the space station – 27.5 hours per house – should be fully automated, although the crew can take control if necessary.
US Vice President Mike Pence, chairman of the National Space Commission, has left Washington to watch the launch.
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