Here's what SpaceX's 1st astronaut launch looked like from space (photo)

While keeping an eye on Cape Canaveral from the International Space Station, Russian cosmonaut Ivan Vagner captured this photo of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft emerging from Earth's upper atmosphere after launching to orbit on May 30, 2020.  (Image credit: Ivan Vagner/Roscosmos/Twitter)

It's a sight no one has seen in nearly a decade: A rocket carrying NASA astronauts launching from Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

But Ivan Vagner, a Russian cosmonaut and one of three humans currently living on board the International Space Station, caught the sight of just that with the milestone Demo-2 flight of a SpaceX Crew Dragon carrying two NASA astronauts. The pair will arrive at the orbiting laboratory tomorrow (May 31) to begin a stay lasting between one and four months.

"Congratulations to everyone and looking forward to seeing @Astro_Doug, @AstroBehnken!" Vagner wrote on Twitter, referring to NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley tucked inside the capsule.

You can watch the Demo-2 mission live here and on's homepage, courtesy of NASA TV, through docking.

Related: SpaceX's historic Demo-2 astronaut mission: Full coverage

Vagner also captured images of the Demo-2 mission's rocket and capsule on the launch pad both yesterday and just two minutes before launch today.

Behnken and Hurley underwent a scrubbed launch attempt on Wednesday (May 27), when bad weather conditions forced the NASA and SpaceX teams to delay. Weather threatened today's launch as well, but the pair donned their suits anyway, just in case the launch could take place. And by late in the countdown clock, the weather had cleared.

Russian cosmonaut Ivan Vagner captured this photo of Cape Canaveral, Florida from the International Space Station approximately 2 minutes before SpaceX launched the Demo-2 mission from there on May 30, 2020.  (Image credit: Ivan Vagner/Roscosmos/Twitter)

At 3:22 p.m. EDT (1922 GMT), the rocket fired and the SpaceX Crew Dragon headed to orbit. It was a milestone launch, the first launch of humans to orbit from a U.S. facility since 2011, when NASA's space shuttles retired.

Now, Behnken and Hurley are making a 19-hour trek to the International Space Station, where they will join NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, Vagner and his Russian colleague, Anatoly Ivanishin, who have been in orbit since April

The SpaceX Crew Dragon will dock tomorrow (May 31) at about 10:29 a.m. EDT (1429 GMT), and the hatch will open a little more than two hours later.

Visit for complete coverage of SpaceX's Crew Dragon Demo-2 flight. 

Email Meghan Bartels at or follow her @meghanbartels. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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Meghan Bartels
Senior Writer

Meghan is a senior writer at and has more than five years' experience as a science journalist based in New York City. She joined in July 2018, with previous writing published in outlets including Newsweek and Audubon. Meghan earned an MA in science journalism from New York University and a BA in classics from Georgetown University, and in her free time she enjoys reading and visiting museums. Follow her on Twitter at @meghanbartels.