"The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soared into space from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying the Dragon capsule to orbit at 3:44 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 22, 2012. The launch is the company's second demonstration test flight for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, or COTS, Program. During the flight, there will be a series of check-out procedures to test and prove Dragon's systems, including rendezvous and berthing with the International Space Station. If the capsule performs as planned, the cargo and experiments it is carrying will be transferred to the station."Source: NASA
A new era in space exploration dawned Tuesday as a slender rocket powered into the dark Florida sky before sunrise, carrying the first private spacecraft bound for the International Space Station.
"We're now back on the brink of a new future, a future that embraces the innovation the private sector brings to the table," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "The significance of this day cannot be overstated."
The unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 3:44 a.m., carrying 1,300 pounds of food, clothing and scientific experiments on a demonstration mission to gauge the company's ability to safely and efficiently deliver supplies to astronauts staffing the orbiting station.
[Updated 4:18 am EDT] (CNN) - The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, early Tuesday carrying the first private spacecraft bound for the International Space Station.
The company's Falcon 9 rocket - with its Dragon capsule filled with food, supplies and science experiments - is scheduled to blast off at 3:44 a.m. ET from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The first attempt at launching the rocket was halted Saturday when a flight computer detected "high pressure in the engine 5 combustion chamber," according to the company.
"During rigorous inspections of the engine, SpaceX engineers discovered a faulty check valve on the Merlin engine," the company said in a statement Monday. "The failed valve was replaced on Saturday, and after thorough analysis, the vehicle has been cleared for launch."