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The rocket launches from Florida. Photo: NASA TV

Four astronauts took flight to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon early Friday morning.

The big picture: This marks the third time SpaceX has launched people to space for NASA, helping the space agency end its reliance on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft and rocket for trips to the space station.

The state of play: NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and the European Space Agency's Thomas Pesquet lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 5:49 a.m. ET Friday.

  • The four crewmembers are now flying through space on their way to catch up to and dock with the station.
  • They are expected to dock at 5:10 a.m. ET Saturday, with the hatch opening a couple hours later.
  • You can watch a live broadcast of their trip through space via NASA TV, which is expected to air continuous coverage through docking.

What's next: Once the astronauts arrive on the space station, they will join seven other astronauts and cosmonauts already onboard.

  • Four of the crewmembers are due to fly back to Earth next week.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Apr 22, 2021 - Science

SpaceX set to launch new crew of astronauts for NASA Friday

The Falcon 9 rocket stands on its pad ahead of launch. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX is slated to send four new crewmembers to the International Space Station on Friday.

Why it matters: This will mark the third crewed flight for the company, which has big plans to one day launch people to the Moon and eventually to Mars.

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Death toll mounts as fighting between Israel and Hamas intensifies

Palestinian Muslims exchange wishes for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, near a razed building in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on May 13. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At least 109 Palestinians and seven people in Israel have been killed since recent fighting between Israel's military and Hamas began Monday.

The big picture: Israel began massing troops on its border with Gaza on Thursday, launching attacks from the air and ground as Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel.

By the numbers: Where the earmarks are wanted

Expand chart
Data: House Committee on Appropriations; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is being targeted for the largest collective earmark request in the country, according to a detailed breakdown of overall requests released by the House Appropriations Committee.

Why it matters: House appropriators are trying to balance bipartisan momentum for infrastructure investment with "pork-barrel" spending's checkered political history. The data dump is an effort to provide transparency for what are now termed "community project funding" requests.