Sen. Ted Cruz to SpaceX astronauts: 'Everyone is proud of you'

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- U.S. Senator Ted Cruz shared a few words of encouragement with NASA's Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on Sunday after they successfully docked their SpaceX Dragon capsule with the International Space Station.

"Congratulations gentlemen," said Cruz. "The eyes of the world are upon you, and everyone is proud of you."

The two men are 250 miles above Earth, for a stay of up to four months, after which they will come home with a Right Stuff-style splashdown at sea, something the world hasn't witnessed since the 1970s.

The crew successfully opened the hatch connecting the Dragon to the International Space Station about two hours after docking on Sunday.

The astronauts lifted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday, becoming the first to leave U.S. soil for space in nine years.

"I sat with my wife and kids in our living room watching on TV yesterday, and I suspect we did what just about everyone watching did, including both of you," Cruz told the crew during his visit to the Johnson Space Center. "We just held our breath as it took off."



Cruz asked the two men about their goals and what they hope to accomplish.

"We're looking forward to contributing in any way that we can and trying to keep the space station as productive as possible," said Hurley.

As cities across America continue to see significant protests against police brutality, Sen. Cruz hopes the launch can serve as a glimmer of hope.

"This launch and you all's docking is a powerful inspiration of what we can do when we come together," said Cruz. "The power of unity, [and] the power of ingenuity.

He then asked the crewmates, "What would tell young people of what we can do when we come together?"

"This is just one effort we can show for the ages in this dark time that we've had over the past several months to kind of inspire," said Hurley. "Especially the young people in the United States, to reach for these lofty goals and work hard, and look what you can accomplish."

SpaceX becomes the first private company to launch people into orbit, a feat achieved previously by only three governments: the U.S., Russia and China.

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Welcome aboard! NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are now at their new home for the next few months.



RELATED: LIFTOFF! SpaceX Falcon 9 departs the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center
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Watch the SpaceX Falcon 9, with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the Dragon crew capsule, lift off.

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