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Live Reporting

Ritu Prasad, Helen Briggs, Jonathan Amos and Paul Rincon

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from us

    Our live coverage has now concluded.

    Nasa and SpaceX made history by returning US astronauts from US soil to low-Earth orbit for the first time in nine years. It also marked the beginning of "taxi" rides to the space station, where commercial spaceflight enters a new phase.

    Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are now on their way to the International Space Station, and we'll continue to cover the mission here on BBC News.

    You can read more about today's events here.

    Thank you for joining us.

  2. 'Calm and focused'

    Pat Forrester, Nasa's chief astronaut, is full of praise for Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.

    "I have been living with Bob and Doug in the astronaut quarters here for the last week-and-a-half and I have never seen a crew so calm and focused leading up to a launch as these two were," he said.

    Colonel Forrester added: "Astronauts sometimes are referred to as heroes, and no doubt Bob and Doug demonstrated that today... but we were surrounded by heroes on the ground who got us here today."

    The successful launch now opens the door for more flights with the Crew Dragon.

    "No doubt I have a bunch of astronauts jumping up and down in Houston that are pretty happy too because we've promised them some flight assignments. And those are sure to come now we've got Bob and Doug up," said Colonel Forrester.

    Pat Forrester
    Image caption: Pat Forrester
  3. We name this ship...

    In the tradition of US human spaceflight, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have got to name their Dragon ship and they've gone with... Capsule Endeavour.

    Speaking from the vessel over the radio, Doug Hurley said: "We chose Endeavour for a few reasons: One, because of this incredible endeavour that Nasa, SpaceX and the US have been on since the end of the shuttle programme back in 2011. The other reason is a little more personal to Bob and I. We both had our first flights on shuttle Endeavour and it just meant so much to us to carry on that name."

    Endeavour was the ship commanded by British explorer James Cook on his voyage to Australia in the late 18th Century.

  4. 'Overcome with emotion'

    "I think this is something that should really get people right in the heart - anyone who has a spirit of exploration," said Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX.

    He added: "I am really quite overcome with emotion - it's kind of hard to talk really.

    "It's been 18 years working towards this goal. It's really hard to believe that it's happened.

    "This is a craft made by humans, for humans, I think it's something humanity should be proud about occurring on this day."

    Elon Musk
    Image caption: Elon Musk
  5. Performing 'very, very well'

    What a great day for Nasa, what a great day for SpaceX, what a great day for the United States of America," says Nasa's administrator Jim Bridenstine as he opens the post-launch press conference.

    "It's been nine years since we've launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil. And now we have done it again."

    But he added: "I want to be clear, the mission is not yet over. This is a test flight. We are at the beginning. But so far, everything has performed very, very well."

    He called astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley "American heroes" and commented: "I am so honoured and grateful to have this brief moment in my life to be at the head of this agency."

  6. Burn three completed

    The third of five major burns of the Crew Dragon's "Draco" thrusters has been completed. Ground controllers proclaimed "good burn", signalling success.

    The "close coelliptic burn" involved firing the engines for a total of 10 minutes and was designed to help raise the spacecraft's orbit.

    It will circularise the spacecraft's orbit, so that it is a constant 10km below the International Space Station.

  7. The evolution of the spacesuit


    The spacesuits worn by the astronauts on this mission have been getting a lot of attention.

    How do they differ from astronaut-attire of years past?

    The futuristic flight suits worn by Hurley and Behnken look a world away from the bulky orange shuttle flight suits worn when astronauts last launched from Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

    The Starman suits, as they've been called, are all in one piece and customised for the astronaut. Their look was conceived by Hollywood costume designer Jose Fernandez, who has worked on Captain America: Civil War and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

    Check out the full story behind these newfangled suits - and their predecessors - here.

  8. Trump promises US astronauts on Moon, Mars

    Trump promises US astronauts will return to the Moon by 2024 to "establish a permanent presence and a launching pad to Mars".

    "The first woman on the Moon will be an American woman and the first nation to land on Mars will be the United States of America."

    Trump jokes that at Wednesday's scrubbed launch, he told Nasa's Jim Bridenstine "it's ok, why don't you wait 5 or 10 minutes?"

    "He said, 'Sir we only have a window of one second' and I walked out of here shaking my head," Trump says to laughter from the crowd.

    The president continues: "Space travel is not a feat of engineering alone, it's also a moral endeavour, a measure of a nation's vision, its willpower, its place in the world. Exploration is a test of our values."

    "The best is yet to come," Trump says as he wraps up.

    Trump at Nasa press conference
  9. 'The commercial space industry is the future'

    Trump congratulates Elon Musk for fulfiling a dream decades in the making. He says the paternship between Nasa and SpaceX has given America "an unmatched power" in a spaceship that puts astronauts into orbit "at a fraction of the cost of the space shuttle, and it's much better".

    "From now on the US will leverage the fast-growing capabilities of our commercial sector," Trump says.

    "We will use rockets and spacecraft designed, built, owned and launched by private American companies at a fixed price for the American taxpayer," he adds.

    "Today's launch makes clear the commercial space industry is the future."

    Trump says when he began office, Nasa had "lost its way".

    He says before, people were "crying, they were devastated, but now it's the greatest of its kind anywhere in the world and will get greater".

    "You can't be number one on Earth if you are number two in space," Trump says to applause. "And we are not going to be number two anywhere."

  10. Trump: 'America first' on Earth and in space

    President Donald Trump

    US President Donald Trump also begins by addressing George Floyd's death, saying it should never have happened.

    Of the protests, he says "those making excuses or justifications for violence are not helping the downtrodden" and that he won't "allow angry mobs to dominate".

    "Moments ago, as we witnessed the launch of two great American astronauts into space we were filled with the same of pride and unity that brings us together as Americans," Trump says.

    "That same spirit which powered our astronauts to the Moon has also helped lift our country to ever greater heights of justice and opportunity throughout our history.

    "So today, as we mark a renewed commitment to America's future in space, a tremendous commitment it is, let us also commit to a brighter future for all of our citizens right here on Earth."

    He says "a new age of American ambition" has begun.

    Read more about the George Floyd case here:

  11. US Vice-President: 'America leading in space again'

    Vice-President Mike Pence, who chairs the US space council, has been speaking.

    He says: "Nasa is back and America is leading in space once again".

    Noting the ongoing pandemic and recent protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was in police custody, Pence says: "In the most challenging times, Americans rise above. we always move forward. we overcome every obstacle."

    Pence says the US won't just go back to the Moon, but will land American astronauts on Mars.

    VP Pence
  12. Manual flight test begins

    The manual flight test has just begun. This is the first time the astronauts are handling this brand-new craft in space.

    They will be piloting Crew Dragon, testing out the override controls.

  13. How far do they have to go?

    Crew Dragon will have to go 250 miles (402km) up to reach the ISS. That's around the distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco, or a bit less than London to Truro.

    But they'll have to circle the globe several times in order to catch up to the ISS.

    For context, it's been about an hour-and-a-half since launch and the space station, in that time, has already just about circled the planet.

  14. Questions? We have answers.


    What is SpaceX? Why is a private company launching Nasa astronauts? Why is the launch so important?

    We've answered the most common questions about this mission, who's involved and why it all matters.

    Read the full story here.

  15. Not a bad view

    Here's a look at what the astronauts are seeing from their orbit wheeling above us.

    It's certainly not a bad view.

    At the moment, Behnken and Hurley are drying out their suits (they have been wearing them since this morning). There are still some maneouvers left to go before any rest.

    View of earth
  16. Will the astronauts sleep?

    They're supposed to! There are eight hours of rest scheduled for Behnken and Hurley.

    But they don't get to stretch out. They'll be sitting, albeit in Dragon's reclined seats.

    During their time aboard the ISS, they will have proper beds.

  17. 'Inspiring'

    Millions of people watched the launch today, and it was a worldwide trend on social media.

    Here's some of the reaction to today's history-making lift-off, from Nasa astronaut Jonny Kim, UK Space Directorate chief Harvey Smyth and a touching photo from space journalist Eric Berger.

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  18. Isn't Dragon autonomous?

    SpaceX's Crew Dragon is fully autonomous, meaning it can do all its own navigation and burns.

    But there are manual overrides that allow astronauts to take control if there are any issues.

    Behnken and Hurley will be testing out those overrides when they take control soon.

    They'll re-orient Dragon in different attitudes (its orientation relative to the direction of travel) to check out the controls before letting the flight computer take back control.

  19. One down, four to go

    The first burn has been successfully completed, and they've got four more to go before docking tomorrow.

    In just under an hour-and-a-half, Behnken and Hurley will do the next one, called the boost burn.

    Shortly before that, the two astronauts will get to manually pilot the craft for the first time.

    (You can try your hand at doing the same via this SpaceX simulator.)

    They can now also take off their space suits and get a little bit more comfortable for their journey. They'll have to put the suits back on before docking.

  20. First burn begins

    Using its forward thrusters - which help with big changes in the capsule's velocity - Crew Dragon has started its first burn, called a phase burn.

    This will help Dragon raise its orbit over the next 19 hours before it meets the ISS and is the first major step in the capsule's free flight.

    It'll go on for several minutes, and we'll look out to hear the words "good burn" when it's done.