‘They are America’s team’: Astronauts lift off from Cape Canaveral in first crewed launch from U.S. soil in 9 years

VIDEO: ?They are America?s team?: Astronauts lift off from Cape Canaveral in first crewed launch from U.S. soil in 9 years

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA and SpaceX made history Saturday afternoon by launching a rocket from American soil for the first time in nine years.

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were aboard the Crew Dragon as the Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 3:22 p.m.

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“I was praying for Bob and Doug and their safe return, even though they’re just going,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said. “I’ve heard that rumble before, but it’s a whole different feeling when you have your team on that rocket,” Bridenstine said. “And they are our team, they are America’s team.”

The astronauts are on their way to the International Space Station and are expected to arrive at about 10:30 a.m. Sunday. They will then stay at the space station for one to four months.

Watch the launch below:

WATCH AGAIN! Crew Dragon Demo-2 launch from Cape Canaveral

Teams will pay close attention to make sure the Crew Dragon is operating as intended as the two astronauts make their way to the International Space Station.

“You learn on every flight; they hope to learn more on this one,” said Dale Ketcham with Space Florida.

The Demo-2 mission is the final major step before NASA’s Commercial Crew program certifies the Crew Dragon for operational missions to the station.

Bridenstine said he also hopes the flight test is a source of inspiration.

“I hope this moment in time is an opportunity for everybody to reflect on humanity and what we can do together when we work together, when we strive and achieve,” he said.

Minutes after the launch, SpaceX also managed to land a Falcon 9 first stage booster aboard its drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You.”

Ch. 9 anchor Greg Warmoth briefly caught up with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk after the launch. See what he had to say below:

VIDEO: Elon Musk talks with Ch. 9's Greg Warmoth
WATCH: Falcon 9 rocket blasts off from Kennedy Space Center with 2 astronauts aboard
Watch it again: Launch of Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 returning to Earth