Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku argues Elon Musk’s company has accomplished more feats in space exploration than Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.
NASA's SpaceX Crew-5 mission successfully launched to the International Space Station on Wednesday afternoon.
Shortly after noon Eastern Time, SpaceX announced that the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A in Florida.
"Liftoff of Falcon 9 and Dragon!" Elon Musk's company tweeted.
The spacecraft, Endurance, is scheduled to dock at the space station at 4:57 p.m. ET on Thursday.
NASA, SPACEX SET TO LAUNCH CREW-5 ASTRONAUTS
Its four passengers include NASA mission commander Nicole Mann and pilot Josh Cassada, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Waka and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, who have safely reached orbit and the nosecone has been opened.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon capsule, with a multinational crew of four astronauts, lifts off from Launch Complex 39-A Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., beginning a five-month mission to the Inte (AP Photo/John Raoux / AP Newsroom)
"Awesome!" Mann exclaimed as they reached orbit. "That was a smooth ride uphill. You’ve got three rookies who are pretty happy to be floating in space right now."
The launch marks the first time in 20 years that a Russian cosmonaut has rocketed from the U.S. Mann, a Marine colonel, is the first Native American woman to orbit Earth.
NASA astronaut Nicole Mann says goodbye to her husband Travis and her son Jack as she leaves ahead of the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew5 Dragon, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on October 5, 2022. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)
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This is also the first flight for Cassada – a Navy captain – and Kikina.
Members of the media work as the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon capsule launches from Pad-39A on the Crew 5 mission carrying crew members to the International Space Station from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Oct. 5, (REUTERS/Steve Nesius / Reuters Photos)
The mission had previously been delayed, most recently due to Hurricane Ian.
The astronauts will return to Earth in March.
(L-R) Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina, NASA astronaut Josh Cassada, NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata arrive ahead of the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew5 Dragon, at the Kennedy Space Center in Flo (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)
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SpaceX has now launched eight crews since 2020.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.