First it was on, then it was off. Then on, then off. Then it had a little wobble. Now, SpaceX has finally launched, making its NASA's first successful involvement with the world of private space flight. This is a momentous day for science, engineering and space travel.
After launching at 3:44:38 ET, the Falcon 9 rocket booster and SpaceX Dragon capsule finally made their way into space. So far, Falcon 9 and the Dragon are in orbit, and the Dragon has successfully deployed its solar arrays.
Over the next few days, the Dragon will orbit Earth and then begin its approach to the International Space Station. The craft will then undergo intensive sensor and flight system testing and, if that goes well, it will approach the ISS on Thursday for final tests. The big day comes Friday when, if absolutely everything has gone to plan, Dragon will dock with the ISS.
You can find out when you might be able to see the Dragon pass over your city here.
Image by NASA