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.
Photo by: Chris Thompson/SpaceX

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.
Photo by: Chris Thompson/SpaceX

Rollout

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

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.
Photo by: Chris Thompson/SpaceX

Ready for launch

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

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.
Photo by: Chris Thompson/SpaceX

Fire in the sky

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

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.
Photo by: Chris Thompson/SpaceX

On its way

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

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.
Photo by: Chris Thompson/SpaceX

Fire below

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

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.
Photo by: SpaceX

Stage separation

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

Stage separation 2

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

Stage separation 3

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

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.
Photo by: SpaceX

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