Images: SpaceX's Falcon 9 takes flight
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.
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.
The Falcon 9 is rolled out on its way to the launch pad.
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.
Ready for launch
The Falcon 9 readies for launch.
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.
Fire in the sky
Fire shoots from the Falcon 9, seconds after lift-off.
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.
On its way
The Falcon 9 clears the ground seconds after blast off.
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.
Just after launch, the bottom of the Falcon 9 is seen from a camera placed high on its body.
Side-by-side images show the Falcon 9's view of the Earth below (left) and the rocket as seen from the ground.
The beginning of stage separation is seen from a camera mounted on the Falcon 9.
Stage separation 2
The separation of the Falcon 9's two stages continues.
Stage separation 3
The first stage of the rocket gets further away.
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.