CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (CBSLA) — Following a one-day delay because of high wind and weather conditions, Hawthorne-based SpaceX succeeded at its mission to launch the crew aboard the Dragon capsule into space on Sunday evening.
This marked SpaceX’s second astronaut launch in its 18-year history, and is the Dragon’s first fully operational mission.
The astronauts aboard the Resilience capsule were Americans Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
Glover made history as the first Black astronaut to join a long-duration crew on the space station.
President-elect Joe Biden tweeted in response to the mission, saying, “Congratulations to NASA and SpaceX on today’s launch. It’s a testament to the power of science and what we can accomplish by harnessing our innovation, ingenuity, and determination. I join all Americans and the people of Japan in wishing the astronauts Godspeed on their journey.”
The mission was set to launch from Kennedy Space Center into space at 4:27 p.m. PST / 7:27 p.m. EST, propelling four NASA astronauts — three Americans and one Japanese national — to the International Space Station.
It will take 27 hours for the Crew Dragon spacecraft to arrive to the ISS before docking around 8pm PT on Monday. It’s expected to be a six-month mission.
The launch was initially scheduled for Saturday but was postponed due to weather that could have jeopardized the recovery and recycling of the rocket booster, according to the Associated Press.
Friday’s postponement news came after SpaceX chief Elon Musk disclosed he had gotten mixed test results for COVID-19 and was awaiting the outcome of a more definitive test, AP said.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told the Associated Press that anyone testing positive for COVID-19 must quarantine under NASA policy and remain isolated.
Officials said contact tracing by SpaceX found no link between Musk and any personnel in close touch with the four astronauts, who remain cleared for flight.
“I can assure everyone that we’re looking good for the (crew) launch and all of the critical personnel involved,” said SpaceX’s Benji Reed, senior director for human spaceflight.
It wasn’t immediately known if Musk would be allowed at the Kennedy Space Center launching site even if later tests came up negative.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)