Liftoff

On Friday, the Falcon 9, a two-stage rocket powered by liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene, launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, near NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch of the rocket, owned and operated by the commercial space company SpaceX, is being seen as a milestone because of its potential for being the first private carrier of cargo to the International Space Station. That role will be crucial in the future owing to the planned completion this fall of the Space Shuttle program.
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Photo by: Chris Thompson/SpaceX / Caption by:

Before launch

The Falcon 9 rocket readies for launch from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The Falcon 9 was 180 feet long, 12 feet wide, and weighed 735,000 pounds prior to launch.
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Photo by: Chris Thompson/SpaceX / Caption by:

Rollout

The Falcon 9 is rolled out on its way to the launch pad.
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Photo by: Chris Thompson/SpaceX / Caption by:

Falcon 9 close-up

A close-up of the front of SpaceX's Falcon 9, a two-stage, liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene rocket that could one day ferry cargo to the International Space Station.
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Photo by: Chris Thompson/SpaceX / Caption by:

Ready for launch

The Falcon 9 readies for launch.
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Photo by: Chris Thompson/SpaceX / Caption by:

Up in the air

At 2:45 p.m. ET on Friday, June 4, 2010, SpaceX's Falcon 9 lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
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Photo by: Chris Thompson/SpaceX / Caption by:

Fire in the sky

Fire shoots from the Falcon 9, seconds after lift-off.
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Photo by: Chris Thompson/SpaceX / Caption by:

Blast off for the ages

Many see the launch of the Falcon 9 as a vital step forward for the future of the International Space Station mission as a result of the shutdown of the Space Shuttle program.
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Photo by: Chris Thompson/SpaceX / Caption by:

On its way

The Falcon 9 clears the ground seconds after blast off.
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Photo by: Chris Thompson/SpaceX / Caption by:

Blue sky above

The Falcon 9 had launch windows on Friday and Saturday. But the weather didn't stand in the way of SpaceX's rocket launching Friday.
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Photo by: Chris Thompson/SpaceX / Caption by:

Fire below

Just after launch, the bottom of the Falcon 9 is seen from a camera placed high on its body.
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Photo by: SpaceX / Caption by:

Two frames

Side-by-side images show the Falcon 9's view of the Earth below (left) and the rocket as seen from the ground.
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Photo by: SpaceX / Caption by:

Stage separation

The beginning of stage separation is seen from a camera mounted on the Falcon 9.
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Photo by: SpaceX / Caption by:

Stage separation 2

The separation of the Falcon 9's two stages continues.
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Photo by: SpaceX / Caption by:

Stage separation 3

The first stage of the rocket gets further away.
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Photo by: SpaceX / Caption by:

00:08:22

Eight minutes and twenty-two seconds after launch, the Falcon 9 soars above the Earth, seen in the lower left of this image captured by a camera mounted on the rocket.
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Photo by: SpaceX / Caption by:
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