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NASA, SpaceX launch astronauts from US soil for the first time in a decade

A SpaceX spacecraft carrying two NASA astronauts soared into outer space Saturday — marking the first time humans have traveled into Earth's orbit from US soil in nearly a decade. Liftoff occurred just after 3:20 pm ET from Florida's Kennedy Space Center. Astronauts Robert Behnken, 49, and Douglas Hurley, 53, will spend about 19 hours aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule as it slowly maneuvers its way toward the International Space Station. SpaceX and NASA gear up, again, for historic launch SpaceX and NASA gear up, again, for historic launch The spacecraft is expected to dock with the space station around at 10:29 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 31.

The United States hasn't launched its own astronauts into space since the Space Shuttle Program ended in 2011. Since then, NASA's astronauts have had to travel to Russia and train on the country's Soyuz spacecraft. Those seats have cost NASA as much as $86 million each. The launch also marked the first time in history that a commercial aerospace company has carried humans into Earth's orbit. SpaceX has been working on the Crew Dragon spacecraft for 15 years.