New Delhi | Jagran Tech Desk: A rocket ship on Saturday successfully blasted off with two NASA astronauts from the US state of Florida on their way to International Space Station (ISS), marking the beginning of new age in commercial space travel. It was built by Elon Musk's SpaceX company.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, carrying NASA astronauts Doug Hurley (53) and Bob Behnken (49) lifted off at 12.52 am IST Sunday atop the company's Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

With the liftoff, SpaceX became the first private company to launch people into orbit. The feat is achieved by only three governments: US, China, and Russia.

The reusable, gumdrop-shaped capsule called Crew Dragon would now take the two American astronauts to a 19-hour journey to ISS.

Earlier the launch was postponed due to inclement weather last week. The successful launch gave Americans something to cheer in the last three months as they lost over 1 lakh due to coronavirus. Over 40 million people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and the economy has entered into a recession.

US President Donald Trump congratulated Musk, NASA, and astronauts describing the launch as a great day for the country.

"I'm so proud of the people, of NASA, public and private. I think this is such a great inspiration for our country," he said.

Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla, said, "This is a dream come true for me and everyone at SpaceX.”

"It is the culmination of an incredible amount of work by the SpaceX team, by NASA and by a number of other partners in the process of making this happen," he added.

The blastoff assumes significance as it marks the launch of humans into orbit from US soil for the first time in nearly one decade.

(with PTI inputs)

Posted By: James Kuanal