CAPE CANAVERAL: Americans are back in space, courtesy of a rocket developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken lifted off at the weekend on a mission to the International Space Station from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

It was an historic moment for America’s ambitious plans to once again dominate the space-race,  as Russia, China and India also eye the prize. 

Moments before lift-off, Hurley said, “SpaceX, we’re go for launch. Let’s light this candle,” paraphrasing the famous words by Alan Shephard, the first American astronaut, in 1961.

Crew Dragon separated from its second stage booster at 3:35 and minutes later entered orbit.

It was not only an historic moment for NASA, but also a feather in the cap for SpaceX which had been working towards this moment for several years. It paves for the way for other private space companies to forge a path to space.