Last night at Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 8:35 p.m. EDT, SpaceX launched their first official cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). This is a huge accomplishment as it marks the return of American built and American launched space access for ISS.
The 6 astronauts on board ISS will unload the supplies and put 2,000 pounds of used equipment and experiments in the Dragon capsule for return to Earth in about three weeks.
I can't emphasize how critical this return to capability is for NASA and America's space program. We now can commercially access space with our own resources. We still have to rely on Russia to ferry astronauts to and from ISS but that will change in the near future. The Falcon 9-Dragon system can be modified to carry astronauts instead of cargo. That step will come in the not so distant future.
NASA is already building the first space rated Orion crew capsule for launch on an unmanned mission in 2014. SpaceX will not be far behind with their man-rated Dragon capsule.
See the launch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRTYh71D9P0
Read More About SpaceX: http://www.spacex.com/press.php?page=20121007
Sky Guy in VA