SpaceX Launches Falcon 9/Dragon on Historic Mission
Image above: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
lifts off from Space Launch Complex-40
at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.,
to begin a demonstration flight.
Photo credit: NASA TV
"We're now back on the brink of a new future, a future that embraces the innovation the private sector brings to the table," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "The significance of this day cannot be overstated. While there is a lot of work ahead to successfully complete this mission, we are off to a good start."
Working with an instantaneous launch window, SpaceX, short for Space Exploration Technologies of Hawthorne, Calif., proceeded through a flawless countdown. Liftoff from Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida came at 3:44 a.m. EDT, just as the station was crossing 249 miles above the North Atlantic.
"Every bit of adrenaline in my body released at that moment," said Elon Musk about the moment the rocket lifted off the pad. Musk is the founder, CEO and chief designer of SpaceX. "People were really giving it their all. For us, it was like winning the Super Bowl."
The launch came three days after the rocket aborted a previous launch attempt. William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, lauded the company for getting the craft ready for the successful launch.