Private rocket blasts off for space station

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press
A commercial rocket blasts off for International Space Station, opening new era of spaceflight.

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.


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