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Science / Space

Private Rocket Launch Successful, Heads to Space Station

rocketlaunch.jpg
John Raoux / AP
The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifted off from space launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., early Tuesday.

A commercial rocket blasted off at 3:44 a.m. Tuesday with a load of supplies for the International Space Station. The SpaceX company's Falcon 9 rocket took flight from Cape Canaveral carrying a capsule named Dragon that is packed with 1,000 pounds of space station provisions.

Nell Greenfieldboyce covered the launch for National Public Radio:

Looking like a bright star streaking up into a black sky, a rocket took off before dawn today from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying an unmanned capsule filled with food, clothes, and other supplies for astronauts on the international space station.   But this robotic cargo ship doesn't belong to NASA. Instead, it's owned by a company called Space, which made history by launching the first ever private spacecraft on a mission to the station. SpaceX has a $1.6 billion cargo-delivery contract with NASA, which is turning routine flights to the station over to industry so that the veteran space agency can start to focus on more ambitious exploration efforts.

A video of the SpaceX first commercial launch to the International Space Station is available thanks to Associated Press.