Nasa astronauts make history with SpaceX launch

Nasa has launched astronauts into space from US soil for the first time in nine years, with Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on board SpaceX's Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket.

The Falcon 9 booster landed safely upright on the droneship called Of Course I Still Love You, Space X said.

The duo were due to lift off on Wednesday, but the mission was aborted less than 17 minutes before launch time over concerns that the event could trigger lightning.

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Nasa astronauts make history with SpaceX launch
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Nasa astronauts make history with SpaceX launch
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - MAY 30: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches into space with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (R) and Doug Hurley aboard the rocket from the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The inaugural flight is the first manned mission since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 to be launched into space from the United States. (Photo by Saul Martinez/Getty Images)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft lifts off from launch complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30, 2020. - NASA astronauts Hurley and Bob Behnken are set to depart for an extended stay at the International Space Station on the SpaceX Demo-2 mission. (Photo by Gregg Newton / AFP) (Photo by GREGG NEWTON/AFP via Getty Images)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft lifts off from launch complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30, 2020. - NASA astronauts Hurley and Bob Behnken are set to depart for an extended stay at the International Space Station on the SpaceX Demo-2 mission. (Photo by Gregg Newton / AFP) (Photo by GREGG NEWTON/AFP via Getty Images)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft lifts off from launch complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30, 2020. - NASA astronauts Hurley and Bob Behnken are set to depart for an extended stay at the International Space Station on the SpaceX Demo-2 mission. (Photo by Gregg Newton / AFP) (Photo by GREGG NEWTON/AFP via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - MAY 30: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches into space with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (R) and Doug Hurley aboard the rocket from the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The inaugural flight is the first manned mission since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 to be launched into space from the United States. (Photo by Saul Martinez/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump, US Vice President Mike Pence, and Karen Pence arrive to attend the SpaceX launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30, 2020. - NASA astronauts Hurley and Bob Behnken are set to depart for an extended stay at the International Space Station on the SpaceX Demo-2 mission. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
(L-R) Karen Pence, US Vice President Mike Pence and US President Donald Trump watch the SpaceX launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30, 2020. - Trump traveled to Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch the launch of the manned SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and US Vice President Mike Pence arrive to attend the SpaceX launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30, 2020. - Trump travels to Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch the launch of the manned SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and US Representative Kevin McCarthy(R-CA) arrive at Cape Canaveral, Florida on May 30, 2020. - Trump travelled to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch the launch of the manned SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - MAY 30: Sitting in a Tesla vehicle NASA astronaut Doug Hurley says goodbye to his wife Karen Nyberg and son Jack after walking out of the Operations and Checkout Building on their way to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The inaugural flight will be the first manned mission since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 to be launched into space from the United States. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump waves as he arrvies as US Representative Kevin McCarthy(R-CA) looks on at Cape Canaveral, Florida on May 30, 2020. - Trump travelled to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch the launch of the manned SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 30: A Secret Service Agent stands by as U.S. President Donald Trump takes off in Marine One outside the White House as he heads to the SpaceX launch in Florida on May 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump warned that protesters outside the White House Friday night could have been "greeted" with "vicious dogs" and "ominous weapons" if they had breached the fence, and praised the Secret Service for their response to the demonstrations. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Crew Dragon astronaut Doug Hurley acknowledges cheers en route to Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30, 2020. - NASA astronauts Hurley and Bob Behnken are set to depart for an extended stay at the International Space Station on the SpaceX Demo-2 mission. (Photo by Gregg Newton / AFP) (Photo by GREGG NEWTON/AFP via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - MAY 30: NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (R) and Doug Hurley sit in a Tesla vehicle after walking out of the Operations and Checkout Building on their way to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The inaugural flight will be the first manned mission since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 to be launched into space from the United States. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - MAY 30: NASA astronaut Doug Hurley say goodbye to his wife Karen Nyberg and son Jack after walking out of the Operations and Checkout Building on their way to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The inaugural flight will be the first manned mission since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 to be launched into space from the United States. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - MAY 30: NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (R) and Doug Hurley say goodbye to family members after walk ing out of the Operations and Checkout Building on their way to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The inaugural flight will be the first manned mission since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 to be launched into space from the United States. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - MAY 30: NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (R) and Doug Hurley walk out of the Operations and Checkout Building on their way to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The inaugural flight will be the first manned mission since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 to be launched into space from the United States. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - MAY 30: The countdown clock is seen as the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft attached sits on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on May 25, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. After scrubbing the first attempt at launch NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are scheduled to try again today and, if successful, would be the first people since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 to be launched into space from the United States. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft sits at Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30, 2020. - SpaceX is going ahead with Saturday's planned launch of two astronauts to the International Space Station, although there is a 50-50 chance of cancelling again because of the weather, SpaceX and NASA said. "We are moving forward with launch today. Weather challenges remain with a 50% chance of cancellation," NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted. (Photo by Gregg Newton / AFP) (Photo by GREGG NEWTON/AFP via Getty Images)
The Crew Dragon capsule sits on top of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Launch Complex 39-A at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., Friday, May 29, 2020. The second launch attempt of the Demo-2 mission is scheduled for Saturday at 3:22pm. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - MAY 29: Photographers setup remote cameras as the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft attached is seen on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on May 29, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. After scrubbing the first attempt at launch NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are scheduled to try again on Saturday and if successful would be the first people since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 to be launched into space from the United States. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft looms in the distance at launch complex 39A as American flags flutter in the wind, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 29, 2020. - The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (rear) with the Crew Dragon capsule is rescheduled to launch to the International Space Station on May 30, carrying astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. (Photo by Gregg Newton / AFP) (Photo by GREGG NEWTON/AFP via Getty Images)
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (R) and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana leave after a press briefing at Kennedy Space Center on May 29, 2020. - The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (rear) with the Crew Dragon capsule is rescheduled to launch to the International Space Station on May 30, carrying astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. (Photo by Gregg Newton / AFP) (Photo by GREGG NEWTON/AFP via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - MAY 28: A pelican flies as the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft attached is seen on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on May 28, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. After scrubbing the first attempt at launch NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are scheduled to try again on Saturday, and if successful would be the first people since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 to be launched into space from the United States. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - MAY 28: Workers repaint the NASA logo on the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center on May 28, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft will try to launch again on Saturday after weather scrubbed yesterday's attempt. It will be the first manned mission since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 to be launched into space from the United States. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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Since ending its Space Shuttle programme in 2011, Nasa has depended on Russia's space agency Roscosmos to transport its astronauts to the space station.

In 2014, Nasa awarded SpaceX and Boeing contracts to provide crewed launch services to the space station as part of its Commercial Crew Programme.

According to Nasa, the aim of the Demo-2 mission is to show SpaceX's ability to ferry astronauts to the space station and back safely.

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It is the final major step required by SpaceX's astronaut carrier, the Crew Dragon, to get certified by Nasa's Commercial Crew Programme for more long-term manned missions to space.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will take off from the Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft where Mr Behnken, 49, and Mr Hurley, 53, will be strapped in.

Mr Behnken will serve as the mission's joint operations commander and take responsibility for the rendezvous, docking and undocking of the Dragon capsule, while Mr Hurley will be in charge of the launch, landing and recovery of the vehicle in his role as the Crew Dragon spacecraft commander.

Mr Behnken and Mr Hurley will join the three other space station residents – Nasa's Chris Cassidy and Russia's Anatoli Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner – to become members of the Expedition 63 crew.

Mr Vagner tweeted earlier to say he was waiting for the duo at the space station.

The mission is expected to last anything between one and four months, with a number of tests being performed on the Crew Dragon.

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