Manned SpaceX Rocket Launches Successfully [VIDEO]

The New York Times reports:

The United States opened a new era of human space travel on Saturday as a private company for the first time launched astronauts into orbit, nearly a decade after the government retired the storied space shuttle program in the aftermath of national tragedy.

Two American astronauts lifted off at 3:22 p.m. from a familiar setting, the same Florida launchpad that once served Apollo missions and the space shuttles.

But the rocket and capsule that lofted them out of the atmosphere were a new sight for many — built and operated not by NASA but SpaceX, the company founded by the billionaire Elon Musk to pursue his dream of sending colonists to Mars.