Summary:

The Dragon capsule will carry important science experiments to the International Space Station. It also holds a part needed to repair a backup computer on the ISS.

SpaceX rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station. Liftoff was at 3:25 p.m. EDT.
Image Credit: NASA
photo: NASA

After months of delays, SpaceX‘s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off today carrying cargo bound for the International Space Station.

The Dragon capsule inside the rocket, which will complete the final leg of the journey to the ISS, contains an array of important science experiments, including NASA’s OPALS project, which will test using a laser to transfer data between the space station and Earth. SpaceX will also deliver parts to repair a broken backup computer that is involved in the ISS’s robotics system.

The launch was originally tentatively scheduled for September 2013, but was pushed by repeatedly by NASA due to limited docking opportunities and equipment issues on the ISS. SpaceX scrubbed a launch on April 14 after experiencing a helium leak.

Today’s take off marks SpaceX’s third mission carrying cargo to the ISS for NASA.

The Dragon spacecraft separates from the upper stage of the Falcon rocket minutes after liftoff. The enhanced Dragon includes additional powered cargo locations and double cold bags, avionics water-proofing for post splashdown survivability, enhanced cargo racks for down mass return and cameras and lights in the unpressurized section. Photo credit: NASA

The Dragon spacecraft separates from the upper stage of the Falcon rocket minutes after liftoff. The enhanced Dragon includes additional powered cargo locations and double cold bags, avionics water-proofing for post splashdown survivability, enhanced cargo racks for down mass return and cameras and lights in the unpressurized section. Photo credit: NASA

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