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SpaceX crew launch marks 600 space travelers in 60 years

A SpaceX rocket carried four astronauts into orbit Wednesday night, including the 600th person to reach space in 60 years.

The repeatedly delayed flight occurred just two days after SpaceX brought four other astronauts home from the International Space Station. They should have been up there to welcome the newcomers, but NASA and SpaceX decided to switch the order based on Monday’s ideal recovery weather in the Gulf of Mexico.

“It was a great ride, better than we imagined,” mission commander Raja Chari said after the spacecraft reached orbit.

Germany’s Matthias Maurer claimed the No. 600 position, according to NASA, based on his mission assignment. He and his three NASA crewmates should arrive at the space station in under 24 hours, well over a week late.