Space transportation service company SpaceX and Nasa have successfully launched the first operational crew mission (Crew-1) to the International Space Station (ISS).

SpaceX designed Crew Dragon capsule with four astronauts aboard lifted-off atop the Falcon 9 rocket from Nasa’s Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Last week, Nasa officially certified SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon human spaceflight system to transport astronauts.

This launch marks Nasa’s first full-fledged mission of sending a crew into orbit through privately owned spacecraft.

Nasa Administrator Jim Bridenstine said: “Nasa is delivering on its commitment to the American people and our international partners to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective missions to the International Space Station using American private industry.

“This is an important mission for Nasa, SpaceX and our partners at JAXA, and we look forward to watching this crew arrive at the station to carry on our partnership for all of humanity.”

Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage was landed on the ‘Just Read the Instructions’ droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.

Crew Dragon spacecraft is scheduled for autonomous docking with the ISS at approximately 11:00pm EST on 16 November.

Astronauts on-board the spacecraft include Nasa’s Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Soichi Noguchi. They will start a six-month science mission aboard the space station.

The Crew-1 mission is part of Nasa’s Commercial Crew Program and the first of six crewed missions it will fly with SpaceX.