NASA and Elon Musk's SpaceX on Friday successfully launched their second operational crewed mission to the International Space Station.

Four astronauts from the United States, France and Japan were sent into orbit from Merritt Island, Florida, as part of the so-called Crew-2 mission and will relieve four Crew-1 members who had been transported to the ISS in November.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 5.53 am local time from the Kennedy Space Center carrying one of the company's Crew Dragon capsules that is now en route to that microgravity laboratory, where seven other astronauts already are stationed.