LOS ANGELES, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and SpaceX launched the agency's Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft roared off Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at noon Eastern Time Wednesday.
Shortly after the liftoff, NASA confirmed the main engine cutoff and stage separation.
The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket completed its descent and successfully landed on SpaceX's drone ship, Just Read the Instructions, off the coast of Florida.
The Dragon Endurance spacecraft has separated from the second stage, and headed to the ISS.
The mission carries NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina to the ISS.
NASA said the crew has safely reached orbit. The spacecraft will dock with the space station at approximately 4:57 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday.
During their time on the orbiting laboratory, the crew will conduct over 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations in areas such as human health and lunar fuel systems, according to SpaceX.
After the Dragon spacecraft docks to the orbiting lab, another four station crew members, the Crew-4 mission, will end their mission and return to Earth just over a week later, according to NASA.
The Crew-4 mission will undock from the space station and splash down off the coast of Florida.