SpaceX rocket carries first supplies to International Space Station

  • AFP, Washington
  • |
  • Updated: Oct 08, 2012 12:03 IST
  • SpaceX's Falcon 9

    SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifts off as it heads for space carrying the company's Dragon spacecraft from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Dragon ...

  • Falcon 9

    SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifts off carrying the company's Dragon spacecraft from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. AFP/Bruce Weaver

  • Falcon 9

    SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket heads for space carrying the company's Dragon spacecraft from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. AFP/Bruce Weaver

  • Falcon 9 SpaceX

    The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from space launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida. AP/John

  • SpaceX Falcon 9

    The SpaceX Falcon 9 test rocket, which is 178-foot (54-meter) tall, lifted off at 3.44am (0744 GMT) from a refurbished launch pad just south of ...

  • Falcon 9

    The SpaceX Falcon 9 test rocket blasted off for a mission designed to be the first commercial flight to the International Space Station. Reuters/Pierre DuCharme

  • Dragon spacecraft

    SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft atop rocket Falcon 9 lifts off from Pad 40 of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Titusville, Florida. AFP/Roberto Gonzalez

  • Falcon 9 SpaceX

    The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket is seen during a time exsposure as it lifts off from space launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air ...

  • Falcon 9 SpaceX

    The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from space launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral. AP/John Raoux

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket blasted off on Sunday, launching the cargo-laden Dragon capsule into Earth's orbit on its way to the International Space Station for NASA's first privately-run supply mission.

The SpaceX craft, carrying around 1,000 pounds (455 kilograms) of supplies, took off as scheduled at 8:35 pm (0035 GMT) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, the site of many launches into space.

Dragon is set to reach the ISS on Wednesday, where it will spend about two weeks. This is the first of 12 planned missions in the US firm's $1.6 billion contract with NASA.

The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from space launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The rocket is carrying supplies to the International Space Station. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

The launch was the next step in American efforts to commercialize the space industry, in hopes of reducing costs and spreading them among a wider group than governments alone.

SpaceX, owned by billionaire Paypal co-founder Elon Musk, is one of several private companies working with the US space agency to send flights to and from the ISS. NASA has been relying on Russian spacecraft for the last year, after retiring its fleet of shuttles.

Dragon is scheduled to return to Earth -- splashing down off the coast of southern California -- on October 28, carrying about 734 pounds of scientific tests and results.
 

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