News Desk: Nasa and SpaceX, the private rocket company of Elon Musk, launched four more astronauts on a flight to the International Space Station (ISS) late on Wednesday, including a veteran spacewalker and two younger crewmates chosen to join Nasa's forthcoming lunar missions.
The SpaceX-built launch vehicle, consisting of a Crew Dragon capsule perched atop a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket, climbed into the night sky from Nasa's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, as its nine Merlin engines roared to life at about 9pm (0200 GMT Thursday).
The three American astronauts and their European Space Agency crewmate were due to arrive at the space station, orbiting some 250 miles (400km) above the Earth, on Thursday evening following a flight of about 22 hours, Hindustan Times reported.
“Crew 3” includes two members of Nasa's latest graduating class of astronauts - Raja Chari, 44, a US Air Force combat jet and test pilot serving as mission commander, and mission specialist Kayla Barron, 34, a US Navy submarine officer and nuclear engineer.
The team's designated pilot and second-in-command is veteran astronaut Tom Marshburn, 61, a medical doctor and former Nasa flight surgeon who has logged two previous spaceflights to the space station and four spacewalks. Rounding out the crew is European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer, 51, of Germany, a materials science engineer.