NASA uses SpaceX Falcon 9 to launch US astronauts into space from US soil for the first time in nearly 9 years, since the last space shuttle mission. RELATED: Why Trump’s ‘Space Force’ isn’t as crazy as it sounds https://youtu.be/qF7wy16svSg The flight, known as Crew Dragon Demo-2, bridges the gap left behind by the space shuttle program’s final flight in July 2011. It’s the first time a private company has sent humans into orbit — and the first time in nearly a decade that the United States has launched astronauts into orbit from U.S. soil. Ever since the space shuttle was retired in 2011, NASA has relied on Russian spaceships launched from Kazakhstan to take U.S. astronauts to and from the space station. » Subscribe to USA TODAY: http://bit.ly/1xa3XAh » Watch more on this and other topics from USA TODAY: https://bit.ly/3dkonCT » USA TODAY delivers current local and national news, sports, entertainment, finance, technology, and more through award-winning journalism, photos, videos and VR.