A spacecraft commanded by Raja Chari, an astronaut of Indian origin, was launched into orbit towards the International Space Station on Wednesday night.
The spacecraft, built by private rocket company SpaceX, lifted off at 9.03 pm Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Chari, the commander of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, was selected as a NASA astronaut candidate in 2017. He is a Colonel in the United States Air Force and has accumulated more than 2,500 hours of flight time.
His father Sreenivas Chari hailed from Telangana but moved to the United States at a young age, according to The Print. His mother, Peggy Egbert, is a resident of Iowa in the United States.
NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron and the European Space Agency’s Matthias Maurrer were also aboard the spacecraft.
Earlier, rainfall and clouds in the area had cast doubts about the launch. But, the weather became clear by the time of the flight, AFP reported.
The spacecraft is expected to reach the International Space Station around 7.10 pm EST on Thursday (5.40 am Indian Standard Time on Friday).
The astronauts will spend about six months on the International Space Station. They will conduct “new and exciting scientific research in areas such as materials science, health technologies, and plant science to prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and to benefit life on Earth,” according to a statement by NASA.