Today is a big day for American space exploration. Today marks the first time since 2011 that American astronauts have lifted off from American soil in an American made space craft.

Atlantis launched for the very last space shuttle mission on July 8th, 2011, and returned to Earth a few weeks later on July 21st. Since then American astronauts have relied on other nations' space programs to ferry our personnel to and from the International Space Station.

Today's SpaceX launch from the historic Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the same space center that saw the launch of man's first rockets to the moon, is a big deal.

So, who's going up on this historic flight? That would be Bob Behnken and Douglas G. Hurley.

Today's flight is Demo-2 for the Crew Dragon capsule atop the Falcon 9 rocket and is the first time humans have been launched into space on a SpaceX rocket. The Crew Dragon capsule is designed so that it can stay docked to the ISS for 30 to 110 days. Upon conclusion of this mission on the ISS the Crew Dragon will undock from the space station and return both astronauts to Earth. While the exact length of the mission has not been announced they do have an expiration date as the solar arrays are only rated for 119 days.

The current launch time is between 3:00 and 4:00 this afternoon.

You can watch the launch streaming live on NASA's website or their YouTube channel.

If this mission is successful the United States will no longer need to pay for a seat on a Russian Soyuz rocket to get our people to and from the International Space Station.

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