Hawthorne-based SpaceX launched its 22nd resupply mission to the International Space Station Thursday, carrying more than two tons of supplies to the orbiting outpost.
The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Cargo Dragon spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida at roughly 10:30 a.m. California time.
As has become customary for SpaceX launches, the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket returned to Earth after propelling the Dragon craft on its journey, landing on a barge called “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean for reuse in future missions. The Falcon 9 rocket used in Thursday’s launch was new and had never flown before — a rarity for SpaceX missions.
The Cargo Dragon spacecraft is expected to reach the International Space Station early Saturday.
In addition to carrying supplies for the space station crew, the Dragon is also carrying various scientific experiments and a pair of roll-out solar arrays that will be installed at the station during upcoming astronaut spacewalks.