A team of four astronauts from Japan, Denmark, Russia and the United States lifted off early Saturday aboard a SpaceX craft bound for the International Space Station and successfully entered orbit.

The Crew-7 mission comprises NASA's Jasmin Moghbeli, Satoshi Furukawa of Japan, Andreas Mogensen of Denmark and Konstantin Borisov of Russia. It is expected to dock at the ISS on Sunday.

Satoshi Furukawa (far R) of Japan and his fellow astronauts of the Crew-7 mission wave before boarding the Dragon space capsule Endurance for lift off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 26, 2023.
(Photo courtesy of JAXA/NASA)(Kyodo)

They will engage in a six-month microgravity research program. The SpaceX Dragon space capsule, called Endurance, was launched atop its Falcon 9 rocket at 3:27 a.m. from Kennedy Space Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Florida, a day after its initial schedule.

Crew-7 marks SpaceX's seventh crew rotation mission since 2020, when it first carried NASA astronauts to the space station.

For Furukawa, it will be his second time on the ISS following his 2011 flight aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

"Everyone in Japan, I will make another trip to the ISS and diligently carry out my job," Furukawa said from the spacecraft after reaching orbit.

At 59, Furukawa ties with Koichi Wakata's record for being the oldest Japanese astronaut to go to space. Wakata, now 60, achieved the feat in 2022.

Furukawa, also a medical doctor, has said he wants to contribute to the development of new drugs by working on experiments to create high-quality protein crystals.

He is also expected to be the subject of a study to look into the effects of an extended stay in space on various organs.

The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the SpaceX Dragon space capsule called Endurance, lifts off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 26, 2023. (Kyodo)