Saturday, April 19, 2014

SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch with Dragon spacecraft on board

SpaceX's third Dragon space capsule mission launched to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral on April 18, 2014.

Credit: NASA TV

SpaceX launched a robotic capsule into orbit today (April 18), kicking off the company's third contracted cargo mission to the International Space Station for NASA, along with an ambitious rocket reusability test.

SpaceX's unmanned Dragon spacecraft blasted off at 3:25 p.m. EDT (1925 GMT) today from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, riding into space atop the company's Falcon 9 rocket.

Dragon is scheduled to rendezvous with the orbiting lab on Sunday (April 20), when it will offload nearly 5,000 lbs. (2,268 kilograms) of food, scientific experiments and supplies.

The Falcon 9's work wasn't done after delivering Dragon to orbit. SpaceX also aimed to return the rocket's first stage softly to Earth, to help develop and demonstrate reusable-rocket technology, which company representatives say could dramatically reduce the cost of spaceflight in the future.

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