SpaceX Dragon capsule blasts off for space station
An unmanned cargo ship loaded with spare parts, science equipment and crew supplies -- including ice cream treats -- rocketed into orbit Sunday and set off after the International Space Station, kicking off a new era of commercial resupply flights intended to restore a U.S. supply chain that was crippled by the shuttle's retirement.
The Dragon capsule and its Falcon 9 rocket, both built by Space Exploration Technologies, roared to life with a rush of fiery exhaust at 8:35:07 p.m. EDT, quickly climbing away from launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Making its first operational flight under a $1.6 billion NASA contract, the 157-foot-tall Falcon 9 arced away on a northeasterly trajectory paralleling the East Coast of the United States, putting on a spectacular evening sky show for area residents and tourists.
Unlike Russian, European and Japanese cargo craft that routinely visit the station, the SpaceX Dragon capsule was designed to make round trips to and from the lab complex, giving it the ability to bring major components and experiment samples back to Earth for the first time since shuttles stopped flying last year.
Its nice to see that America is back in space - and that our capabilities go further than those of other space capable nations. Its even nicer to see private companies doing the job. Setbacks to NASA's space abilities are no longer as serious - because there are others in America with their own space abilities. I'd suggest reading the entire article, because this is an important and interesting subject.