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NASA ushering in new era with first operational launch of SpaceX Crew Dragon carrying 4 astronauts

After six years, two successful test flights and a multi-billion-dollar investment in American enterprise, NASA is poised to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station this weekend, the first government-certified flight of a commercially developed SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

Originally expected to take off Saturday, the launch was delayed to Sunday, at 7:27 p.m. EST, because of expected high winds at the Kennedy Space Center and weather offshore where the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage will attempt to land on a SpaceX droneship. The company plans to reuse the booster for the next Crew Dragon flight.

Appropriately enough, the three-man one-woman crew named their spaceship “Resilience.”

“That means functioning well in times of stress or overcoming adverse events,” said mission commander Mike Hopkins. “I think all of us can agree that 2020 has certainly been a challenging year — global pandemic, economic hardships, civil unrest, isolation.

“And despite all

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