Falcon 9 Roars Off Pad, Places Dragon Capsule in Orbit

The static test of a Falcon 9 rocket on Dec. 4, 2010. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket roared off its launch pad at Cape Canaveral on Wednesday morning, placing a Dragon freighter into low-Earth orbit for the first time. This is the second launch for the rocket and the first flight of the Dragon, which is designed to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. The freighter is set to land  in the Pacific after a nearly 3.5 hour flight. The program is being funded under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.