The spaceship, a joint collaboration between Nasa and Elon Musk’s SpaceX company was due to take-off on Thursday but the launch was postponed until tonight due to bad weather. After some earlier scepticism, the rocket was cleared for launch at 8.22pm UK-time (4.22 Florida time) on Saturday. In spectacular scenes the historic flight was the first time a crewed orbital launch had left the United States since Nasa grounded its operation in 2011.
The rocket contained two astronauts, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken who will usher in a new era for the space agency.
Nasa will now buy its vehicles from Mr Musk’s company, SpaceX.
Mr Huley said before the flight: “It’s absolutely our honor to be part of this huge effort to get the United States back in the launch business.”
A Nasa launch commentator said: “This day is one for the history books, countless hours from dedicated professionals from Nasa and SpaceX.”
The pair now have a 19-hour journey to the ISS with their arrival set for Sunday.
Nasa administrator, Jim Bridenstine praised the landmark launch on Saturday.
“For the first time in 9 years, we have now launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil.
“I’m so proud of the NASA and SpaceX team for making this moment possible.”
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The US President said: “It’s incredible, the power, the technology.
“That was a beautiful sight to see.”
The landmark event is also the first time Nasa has launched astronauts into space aboard a brand new vehicle in 40 years.
British astronaut Tim Peake said: “What a great launch and congratulations SpaceX on making history.
“I loved watching the acceleration during the final minutes of launch – it’s a crazy, crazy feeling being hurled up to 27000kmh!”
The Falcon 9’s chief engineer said: “On behalf of the entire launch team, thanks for flying with Falcon 9 today.
“We hope you enjoyed the ride and wish you a great mission.”
One of the crew replied: “Congratulations to you and the F9 team for the first human ride for Falcon 9 and it was incredible.
“Appreciate all the hard work and thanks for the great ride to space.”