SpaceX launches Dragon capsule to ISS
19 April 2014, 00:14 -- US private firm SpaceX on Friday launched its unmanned Dragon capsule to the International Space Station, its third trip carrying supplies and equipment to the orbiting lab, NASA said. After three earlier delays, the Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon capsule finally blasted off as planned at 3:25 pm (19:25 GMT) from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
The 208-foot (63-meter) tall rocket, built and operated by privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, bolted off its seaside launch pad at 3:25 pm EDT (19:25 GMT), darting through overcast skies as it headed toward orbit.
The Dragon cargo ship, which is loaded with about 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg) of equipment, science experiments and supplies, is due to reach the station on Sunday.
The station, a $100 billion research laboratory owned by 15 nations, flies about 260 miles (418 km) above Earth.
The cargo run is the third by Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX as the company is known, under a 12-flight, $1.6 billion contract with NASA. The US space agency relies on SpaceX and a second firm, Orbital Sciences Corp. to fly supplies to the orbital outpost since the space shuttles were retired in 2011.
NASA also is planning turn over crew transport from Russia to private industry by 2017.
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