"That was one heck of a ride", astronaut Mike Hopkins said from Crew Dragon to SpaceX mission control about an hour after liftoff.
Baby Yoda doll is spotted floating inside the Crew Dragon capsule after Sunday's NASA launch
This mission has several other firsts, including: the first global crew of four to launch on an American commercial spacecraft and the first time the space station's long duration expedition crew size will increase from six to seven crew members, which will add to the crew time available for research.
In explaining about the mission, NASA said, "An global crew of astronauts is en route to the worldwide Space Station following a successful launch on the first NASA-certified commercial human spacecraft system in history". They were joined by Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, making his third trip to space after previously flying on the USA shuttle in 2005 and Soyuz in 2009. The company is still working to overcome software problems following last December's marred space debut of its Starliner capsule. But the launch was postponed for a day due to forecasts of gusty winds - remnants of Tropical Storm Eta - that would have made a return landing for the Falcon 9's reusable booster stage hard, NASA officials said.More news: Chipmaker Qualcomm gets greenlight to supply 4G products to sanctioned Huawei
Hopkins called back: "To all the people at NASA and SpaceX, by working together through these hard times, you've inspired the nation, the world". As many as 13 astronauts were on board at one time in 2009. She worked as a flight controller at NASA's Johnson Space Center and then behind the scenes in the space station program, before becoming an astronaut in 2004. It is NASA's first full-fledged mission sending a crew into orbit aboard a privately owned spacecraft.
President-elect Joe Biden Tweeted his congratulations, saying the launch was "a testament to the power of science".More news: Britain expects to roll out Pfizer covid vaccine before Christmas
The Crew-1 mission is the first of six crewed missions NASA and SpaceX will fly as part of the agency's Commercial Crew Programme. They're on their way to the ISS to staff it for the next half a year, on NASA's first operational commercial crew mission, courtesy of partner SpaceX, which certified its Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft for human flight earlier this year. Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi will become only the third person to rocket into orbit aboard three different kinds of spacecraft.
SpaceX has signed a $3 billion contract with NASA to develop, test, and fly an astronaut taxi service. The successful second launch of a crew to the ISS is a landmark for NASA and SpaceX. Musk said on Saturday that he "most likely" had a "moderate case of covid".More news: What happens now the RCEP trade deal has been signed?
He was replaced in his official duties at Kennedy by SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell. "So this is a truly a commercial launch", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.