SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo spacecraft are set to lift off in a few short minutes, as the company begins its CRS commercial resupply missions to the International Space Station. The launch is scheduled for 8:34PM EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and is streaming right now on NASA's website.
The mission is the first of twelve scheduled resupply flights, a contract with NASA worth $1.6 billion. While this is the first commercial voyage, the company successfully docked with the ISS back in May as part of a test flight, following multiple delays. The craft is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday and begin unloading its 1,000 pounds of supplies, before returning late in the month with some 1,200 pounds of scientific materials and space station hardware.
Update: So far so good. Approximately ten minutes after launch, the Dragon spacecraft successfully separated from the Falcon 9 rocket's second stage, achieving preliminary orbit. Shortly afterward, it successfully deployed the solar arrays that will provide power to the craft, as the Dragon begins its voyage to the International Space Station. For those who missed the live stream of the launch, SpaceX has uploaded video of the event (below).
Update: At a press conference following the launch, SpaceX CEO Gwen Shotwell answered questions about an anomaly in one of the Falcon 9's Merlin engines, which likely caused the rocket's first stage to burn longer than planned. Shotwell said SpaceX will have speak more on the anomaly tomorrow, but noted that the Falcon 9 is designed to "get where it's going even if you lose an engine."