US commercial cargo capsule launched to space station

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 01, 2013 16:20 hrs

Washington, Mar 1 (IANS) An unmanned rocket carrying the Dragon cargo capsule blasted off Friday to deliver the second commercial shipment to the International Space Station.

Perched atop a Falcon 9 rocket, the capsule, built by private spaceflight company SpaceX, lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 10.10 a.m. (1510 GMT), Xinhua reported citing NASA TV.

This is the second of 12 contract flights by SpaceX to resupply the space station, and the third trip by a Dragon to the station, following a successful demonstration mission in May and the first resupply mission in October 2012.

NASA is looking to the private sector in the post-shuttle era to launch American astronauts again from US soil.

It will take at least four to five years before SpaceX or any other private operator is capable of flying astronauts, reports say.

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