SpaceX launches 'Crew 4' astronauts to ISS

STORY: The SpaceX launch vehicle, consisting of a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket topped with the crew's Dragon capsule, dubbed Freedom, lifted off with its crew of four at 3:52 a.m. EDT (0752GMT) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The crew includes a medical doctor turned spacewalker and a geologist specializing in Martian landslides.

If all goes to plan, the three U.S. astronauts and their European Space Agency (ESA) crewmate from Italy will reach the space station after a 17-hour flight and dock around 8:15 p.m. EDT (0015GMT Thursday) to begin a six-month science mission orbiting some 250 miles (420 kilometeRs) above Earth.

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