Resilience is on the way to the International Space Station.
At exactly 7:27 p.m. ET, a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster burst to life at Launch Complex 39A, its engines lighting up the Florida coast. The picture-perfect launch of the gumdrop-shaped Crew Dragon spacecraft — nicknamed Resilience — marks . Not since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 has NASA sent humans to orbit from American soil in an operational mission.
The Crew Dragon contains an international assembly of astronauts: Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker of NASA, plus Soichi Noguchi of Japanese space agency JAXA. The team is expected to spend the next six months on the International Space Station.
Just under 10 minutes after launch, the first stage Falcon 9 booster landed safely on a droneship stationed in the Atlantic.
Shortly after, at around 12 minutes, Resilience separated from the second stage and headed on its way. The spacecraft will now chase down the ISS and dock with the station on Nov. 16 around 11 p.m. ET.
It’s not the first time a Falcon 9 rocket has delivered a Crew Dragon spacecraft to space. In May, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were. But that was a test mission, the final box to be ticked before operations officially begin. Crew-1 signals the return of operational flights to US soil.
This story is being updated live.