The CRS-8 Dragon Resupply Mission lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 1:43 p.m. Pacific time.
Among the 7,000 pounds of cargo on the Dragon spacecraft was a 3,100-pound Bigelow Expandable Activity Module — an experimental space habitat that attaches to the station in an effort to expand habitable space.
The launch will be SpaceX’s first Dragon mission since June 28, 2015, when the Falcon 9 rocket propelling the spacecraft exploded 139 seconds after takeoff.
The Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station in about two days.
Minutes after the launch, the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage landed on a barge — known as “Of Course I Still Love You” — floating in the Atlantic Ocean. It was the company’s first successful barge landing, paving the way for routine reuse of the expensive space vehicles.
The Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to return to Earth May 11, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.
Next year a human-rated version of the Dragon is scheduled to begin carrying American astronauts to the space station.
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