NASA and SpaceX Launch Rocket

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) _ A commercial rocket has blasted off with a load of supplies for the International Space Station.

The SpaceX company’s Falcon 9 rocket took flight at 3:44 a.m. Tuesday from Cape Canaveral, opening a new era of spaceflight.

It carried a capsule named Dragon that is packed with 1,000 pounds of space station provisions.

This is the first time a private business has launched a vessel to the space station.

That’s something only major governments have done _ until now.

The real test comes Thursday when the Dragon gets close to the space station.

It will undergo practice maneuvers from more than a mile out. If all goes well, the docking will occur Friday.

NASA and SpaceX stress that this is a demonstration flight.