Oct. 8 - SpaceX becomes the first private firm to fly to the International Space Station after successfully launching the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo capsule. Jessica Gray reports.
The Falcon 9 rocket lifts off in Cape Canaveral, carrying much-anticipated supplies for astronauts on the International Space Station. The unmanned, privately owned rocket, which launched on Sunday, is part of efforts to restore a U.S. supply line to the space station after the retirement of NASA's space shuttle program. Space Exploration Technologies, known as SpaceX, built the rocket and cargo container, becoming the first private firm to fly to the space station. On Monday, SpaceX said the launch went well, but the true test is yet to come. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GWYNNE SHOTWELL, SPACE EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGIES PRESIDENT SAYING: "As far as the level of difficulty it would be when you're approaching space station on the R-bar because you're basically in close proximity to the International Space Station and its accrued 100 billion dollar orbiting body so you want to be really careful as you do that. So it takes... it's tough on the operators." The cargo capsule, called Dragon, has 400kg or nearly 900 pounds of food, clothing and science equipment, as well as a rare treat for the crew - chocolate vanilla swirl ice cream. Designed to return to earth intact, Dragon is scheduled to bring back research and equipment later this month. NASA is spending $1.6 billion to provide supplies to the space station, which includes a second contract with Orbital Sciences Corp.