The founder of Space X and Tesla, Elon Musk, turned 50 on Monday, and social media was flooded with wishes.
The SpaceX launch vehicle, consisting of a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket topped with a Crew Dragon capsule dubbed Freedom, lifted off with its crew of four at 3:52am EDT (0752 GMT) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
It was the first time a spacecraft circled Earth with an all-amateur crew and no professional astronauts as SpaceX’s first private flight has streaked into orbit with two contest winners, a healthcare worker and their rich sponsor.
Elon Musk-led SpaceX has few alternative options for test-launching its giant Starship spacecraft in the near term if a newly-filed lawsuit disrupts the breakneck speed of development at its remote Texas launch site, legal and industry experts say.
The SpaceX-built launch vehicle, consisting of a Crew Dragon capsule and a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket, was launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at about 9pm (0200 GMT Thursday).
The mission, called Crew-2, involves US astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)'s Akihiko Hoshide, and the European Space Agency (ESA)'s Thomas Pesquet.
"SpaceX is targeting as soon as Thursday, April 20 for the first flight test of a fully integrated Starship and Super Heavy rocket from Starbase in Texas," the company updated on its website.
The two-stage rocketship, standing taller than the Statue of Liberty at 394 feet (120 m) high, was due for blastoff from the SpaceX facility at Boca Chica, Texas, during a two-hour launch window that opens at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT).
This will be the second launch attempt, as the first on Monday was scrubbed at the last minute due to an issue with the pressurisation system on Starship's first stage, a huge booster called Super Heavy.