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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Vice-President Mike Pence is celebrating the successful launch of two Americans into space from U.S. soil for the first time in nine years.

SpaceX and NASA successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying SpaceX’s Dragon capsule with astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. A day after the launch from Cape Canaveral the crew rendezvoused and docked with the International Space Station.

“For too long the American space program was neglected and ignored. Those said are over,” Pence said following Saturday’s launch. “Under President Donald Trump NASA is back and America is leading in space once again.”

Pence outlined how the United States no longer has to pay Russia to transport American astronauts to space and that Saturday’s launch is a major step towards achieving the administration’s goal of getting Americans back to the moon.

“The president revived the National Space Council after it laid dormant for 25 years,” Pence added. “We reformed the national space traffic management system and we streamlined regulations for the commercial use of space. And in 2017, President Trump made it the policy of the United States to return to the moon by 2024.”

Saturday’s launch was also the first time a private rocket was launched into space from the U.S. carrying astronauts on board.