Two firsts for the SpaceX rocketship

A four-astronaut team were propelled into orbit on Friday (April 23) on a flight to the International Space Station, powered by NASA and Elon Musk's commercial rocket company SpaceX.

They are the first crew ever sent into orbit by a rocket booster recycled from a previous spaceflight, and once there the ISS will have its first ever French commander.

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet talked about making history.

"I think we're living in the golden age of manned flights right now. I think people don't realize it. We often look back to the 60s and the moon missions but, in just a few years, we will have done something even more ambitious. In my position, this is obviously very exciting but I hope it’s also for everyone. We're not trying to live this adventure selfishly. We're really trying to share it because what we do in space - we hope, we think – it’ll be useful for all.”

Pesquet says they are always under strict quarantine before a launch, even before COVID-19.

But says all crew members have been vaccinated as it would be “a catastrophe” if the coronavirus reached the space station.

The crew is due to arrive at the space station, which orbits some 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, early on Saturday (April 24) following a flight of about 23 hours.

The mission is the third crewed flight launched into orbit under NASA's fledgling public-private partnership with SpaceX.

They'll be aboard the orbiting research platform for about six months - conducting science experiments and maintenance.