SpaceX launch lights up night sky in Florida

The rocket's first-stage booster was also seen detaching from the spacecraft's top half later on.

After separating, the booster flew itself back to Earth and touched down safely on a landing platform floating in the Atlantic on a drone ship whimsically named Just Read the Instructions.

The flight is carrying four amateur astronauts, and represents the first crewed mission to orbit with no professional astronauts. It is expected to last about three days from launch to splashdown in the Atlantic, SpaceX officials said.

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