UK & World News
Private Rocket Blasts Off For Space Station
A privately-owned rocket has blasted off on the first of a dozen International Space Station supply missions.
It is the second time the California-based SpaceX company has launched a Dragon capsule from the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida, to the space station.
A test flight went well in May, but this is the first of 12 re-stocking missions in the firm's $1.6bn (£1bn) contract with Nasa.
The newest Dragon is carrying up about 450kg of food, clothes, experiments and equipment for the American, Russian and Japanese astronauts on board the space station.
It is set to reach the station on Wednesday, where it will remain docked for most of October.
Astronauts will fill the capsule with blood and urine samples, other experiments and old equipment, for its return to Earth at the end of the month when it will parachute into the Pacific.
The launch is part of American efforts to commercialise the space industry, in hopes of reducing costs and spreading them among a wider group than governments alone.
SpaceX, owned by billionaire Paypal co-founder Elon Musk, is one of several private companies working with the US space agency to send flights to and from the ISS.
Nasa has been relying on Russian spacecraft for the last year, after retiring its fleet of shuttles - Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour.