SpaceX's Falcon 9 reaches for the stars after aborted launch, Dragon eyes encounter at ISS

The Falcon 9 rocket blasted off on Sunday in an historic launch from a NASA pad, depositing a spacecraft into orbit before successfully returning to earth as Elon Musk's SpaceX moved to stake its claim to shuttling humans into space.

One day after suddenly scrubbing a planned lift-off a day earlier for undisclosed technical reasons, the company became the first private space firm to launch a rocket from a NASA facility. The mission is the private space company's 10th resupply to the International Space Station. The launch is the first time that SpaceX is using the LC-39A launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center since it leased it from NASA in 2014.

SpaceX tweet

The two stage rocket, which was designed to transport satellites, launched the Dragon spacecraft, which SpaceX confirmed was in "good orbit" shortly after lift off. The Dragon is now en route to the International Space Station, where it is projected to arrive on Wednesday.

NASA tweet

Sunday's launch was the culmination of two prior launches that ended in disaster. Last September, an explosion on the launchpad destroyed both a rocket and its satellite, while a separate attempt in June 2015 blew up shortly after liftoff.

Musk is one of several technology chiefs attempting to pioneer a new age in the vast expanse of the universe, with the commercial space industry projected to see explosive growth in the coming years.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Dragon "were designed from the outset to deliver humans into space and under an agreement with NASA, SpaceX is actively working toward that goal," the company stated on its website.