Mike Pence flies to Florida to watch NASA-SpaceX launch

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Japanese astronaut Noguchi Soichi is among the four-member crew headed to the International Space Station for a six-month science mission.

"Our astronauts have been in quarantine for weeks, and they should not have had contact with anybody", NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said on Friday. The Pences applauded and then embraced as the ship flew out of sight.

The planned launch is drawing attention as it marks the start of a new era for the commercial space industry.

The crew are to be launched by the Elon Musk-owned private transport services provider SpaceX, reports the BBC.

US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to respond to NASA's launch, claiming that the space agency was a "disaster" before he took office.

According to information revealed by SpaceX and NASA officials as they interacted with Crew-1 NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japanese (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, Crew Dragon's fault detection software was tripped sometime after reaching orbit.

It is also the culmination of years of collaboration between NASA and the private sector as part of an effort to bring launch capabilities back to US soil and end a dependency on Russian Federation for trips to the International Space Station. All four are expected to stay at the ISS for six months.

The crew chose the name "Resilience" after what the world went through in 2020, enduring the COVID-19 pandemic.

Besides its sleek design and high-tech features, the Dragon capsule is quite spacious - it can carry up to seven people.

Both Pence and Trump were on hand for the launch.

Rocket launches from the launchpads that overlook the Atlantic Ocean are becoming increasingly common, sometimes with more than one in a week, and coming at all times of the day, depending on the optimal time to deploy a payload, to meet up with the International Space Station or to accommodate or avoid weather.

Previous space capsules have launched with no more than three. Deemed to be not a showstopper, SpaceX continued the mission and permitted Crew Dragon to begin its first orbit-raising thruster burn - the first of a fairly complex series of "phasing" burns needed to safely rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS).

Trump also told rally crowds that he wanted to send the first woman to the Moon, as only male astronauts were on those missions.



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