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Published: 15:16, May 22, 2023 | Updated: 15:37, May 22, 2023
SpaceX launches private passengers to space station
By Xinhua
Published:15:16, May 22, 2023 Updated:15:37, May 22, 2023 By Xinhua

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Dragon capsule and a crew of four private astronauts, lifts off from pad 39A, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, May 21, 2023. (PHOTO / AP)

LOS ANGELES - US private space company SpaceX launched another crew of private astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday.

The Dragon spacecraft carrying the four-member crew blasted off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 21:37 GMT.

The crew members are Commander Peggy Whitson, Pilot John Shoffner from the US and Mission Specialists Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi from the KSA. With this mission, Whitson becomes the first woman to command a private spaceflight

The spacecraft is expected to dock the space-facing port of the ISS Harmony module on Monday.

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The crew members are Commander Peggy Whitson, Pilot John Shoffner from the United States and Mission Specialists Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With this mission, Whitson becomes the first woman to command a private spaceflight.

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The crew is scheduled to spend about eight days on the ISS performing over 20 science and technology experiments in areas such as human physiology and physical sciences to help expand knowledge to benefit life on Earth.

READ MORE: SpaceX halts Starship rocket's debut flight, citing frozen valve

The mission, codenamed Ax-2, is Axiom Space's second all-private astronaut mission to the ISS following the first mission in 2022. 

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