San Francisco — SpaceX launched its Dragon spacecraft with supplies destined for the International Space Station (ISS) for long-time customer Nasa early on Friday, marking the company’s 12th launch of the year.
The closely held company controlled by CEO Elon Musk launched its Falcon 9 rocket and payload from Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida about 5.44am local time. The Dragon spacecraft is packed with more than 2,681kg of research, crew supplies and hardware, according to Nasa. It’s slated to reach the station on Monday, July 2.
The mission, known as CRS-15, is using both a "flight-proven" rocket booster and spacecraft, the company said in a tweet.
"Dragon confirmed in good orbit," SpaceX tweeted about eight minutes after the launch, following completion of the second-stage engine burn. It said in a press statement that it wouldn’t attempt to recover Falcon 9’s first stage.
SpaceX is targeting about 30 missions this year, up from a record 18 in 2017. The California-based company’s valuation climbed to about $25bn with a recent funding round, making it the third-most valuable venture-backed start-up in the US after Uber and Airbnb.