An exhaust cloud builds around the Falcon 9 rocket at Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as the SpaceX-3 mission lifts off, starting the Dragon resupply spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station. Launch was during an instantaneous window at 3:25 p.m. EDT.
Dragon is making its fourth trip to the space station. The SpaceX-3 mission, carrying almost 2.5 tons of supplies, technology and science experiments, is the third of 12 flights through a $1.6 billion NASA Commercial Resupply Services contract. Dragon's cargo will support more than 150 experiments that will be conducted during the station's Expeditions 39 and 40. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/launch/index.html. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray and Tim Powers