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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.

Asymptotic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a September news conference in Viera, Fla. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Wednesday an emergency order allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school if they're exposed to COVID-19, provided they're asymptomatic.

Why it matters: People infected with COVID-19 can spread the coronavirus starting from two days before they display symptoms, according to the CDC. Quarantine helps prevent the virus' spread.

Federal judge: Florida ban on sanctuary cities racially motivated

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down parts of a Florida law aimed at banning local governments from establishing sanctuary city policies, arguing in part that the law is racially motivated and that it has the support of hate groups.

Why it matters: In a 110-page ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom said the law — signed and championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause because it was adopted with discriminatory motives.