SpaceX has launched the next supply mission to the International Space Station. The Dragon capsule went up this morning, and NASA streamed it live via UStream. We have also embedded the video here, so you can watch the Dragon capsule separate from the rocket via its onboard cameras.
This was the third supply mission for the unmanned Dragon Capsule. SpaceX is aimed at paving the way for commercial space flight, and it’s been an uphill battle so far. Founder Elon Musk watched the successful launch from the company’s headquarters in California, and launch controllers applauded as soon as the Dragon Capsule went safely into orbit. The ISS was above the Atlantic when the rocket went up, and the rocket is expected to catch up with the space station Saturday morning. Astronauts on the station will use a robot arm to reel in the rocket.
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The rocket contained over a ton of equipment and experiments for the ISS. It also carried a load of fresh fruit for the astronauts who are currently on the space station. Other items included in the shipment were some extra clothing and meals for the astronauts, trash bags, air purification devices and computer parts.
At this point SpaceX hasn’t launched a manned flight yet, but that’s expected to happen in 2015. Although NASA shut down much of its space program, exploration of Mars continues with the latest Mars rover, which touched down recently. SpaceX holds a billion-dollar contract with NASA to act as a sort of courier to deliver shipments between Earth and the ISS.