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SpaceX Crew-5 mission successfully launches, heads toward ISS

The Crew-5 launch is carrying two NASA astronauts in addition to two others.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA and SpaceX successfully launched the SpaceX Crew-5 at noon Wednesday to send astronauts to the International Space Station.

The rocket blasted off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. The Dragon spacecraft, Endurance, is scheduled to dock at 4:57 p.m. ET at the ISS on Thursday, Oct. 6. The hatch is set to open at 6:42 p.m. ET.

The Crew-5 launch is carrying two NASA astronauts: Mission Commander Nicole Mann and Pilot Josh Cassada. JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscomos cosmonaut Anna Kikina are serving as mission specialists for a science expedition mission, NASA says.

"The flight is the fifth crew rotation mission with SpaceX to station, and the sixth flight of Dragon with people as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program," according to NASA.

Once at the ISS, the crew will perform science, technology demonstrations, and maintenance activities aboard the microgravity laboratory. They will spend up to six months at the station before returning to Earth. 

Of the four headed to space, this is Mann's, Cassada's and Kikina's first trip to space. Both Mann and Cassada both became astronauts in 2013. Wakata is making his fifth trip to space as a mission specialist.

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