The Dragon capsule will be the first commercial spacecraft to dock with the International Space Station. (SpaceX illustration)
A commercial rocket has blasted off with a load of supplies for the International Space Station.
The SpaceX company's Falcon 9 rocket took flight at 3:44 a.m. Tuesday from Cape Canaveral, opening a new era of spaceflight. It carried a capsule named Dragon that is packed with 1,000 pounds of space station provisions.
This is the first time a private business has launched a vessel to the space station. That's something only major governments have done -- until now.
The real test comes Thursday when the Dragon gets close to the space station. It will undergo practice maneuvers from more than a mile out. If all goes well, the docking will occur Friday.
NASA and SpaceX stress that this is a demonstration flight.