The U.S. is set to resume launching astronauts into space Saturday, for the first time on a private rocket, nearly a decade after the last launch of astronauts from American territory.
Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will blast into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center on the SpaceX rocket, the first by a private company, if all goes as planned.
The California-based SpaceX Aerospace Company is owned by billionaire Elon Musk.
The first launch attempt scheduled for last Wednesday was postponed because of stormy weather in the vicinity of the Kennedy Space Center in the southeastern state of Florida.
Meet NASA Astronauts Taking America Back to Space from US Soil A SpaceX rocket will carry a Dragon capsule with astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station
Astronauts were last launched into space from the U.S. in 2011, when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, retired its space shuttle fleet, forcing the U.S. to rely on partnerships with Russia's space agency to carry U.S. astronauts to the orbiting International Space Station.
If the launch of the 24-story-tall SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is successful, Hurley and Behnken will orbit the Earth inside the newly designed Crew Dragon capsule for about 19 hours before trying to dock at the space station.
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Saturday's National Weather Service forecast at the Kennedy Space Center launch complex calls for showers and thunderstorms.