Of course, both NASA and SpaceX have already deemed that potential issue to be minuscule and Crew Dragon completed its first flawless orbital reentry and splashdown in March 2019. It was the first time in nearly a decade that humans had left the Earth from US soil, and it was also the first joint mission between NASA and a private company. Veteran NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are co-commanders on the mission.
The launch is now on schedule for 3:22PM ET.
The last time NASA launched astronauts into space aboard a brand new vehicle was 40 years ago at the start of the space shuttle program.
The Crew Dragon reached Earth orbit about 12 minutes after takeoff, and is making its way to the ISS, according to NASA.
"Let's bring companies on board to not only fly people to [the International Space station], but let's bring companies on board to do the science", Koch said.
After successfully docking, Behnken and Hurley will be welcomed aboard station and will become members of the Expedition 63 crew. SpaceX used NASA's safety protocols in Saturday's launch of the rocket that carried the Crew Dragon capsule.
Today's launch kicks off a multi-week mission for Behnken and Hurley, which next involves a rendezvous with the ISS around 19 hours from now. This is somewhat dependent on staffing requirements on board the ISS, since now there's only one USA astronaut there in an operational capacity, and Hurley and Behnken will be tasked with assisting with experiments and maintenance on the station. This return part of the program is also created to be fully automated, with the spacecraft preforming the necessary boost-back engine firing to control its re-entry and descent.
The test flight also will provide valuable data toward certification of SpaceX's crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the space station.