Dragon fires toward space station

01:20, Oct 08 2012
Falcon rocket
READY TO FIRE: SpaceX Falcon rocket before launch to carry a Dragon capsule to the International Space Station.

A commercial supply ship is on its way to the International Space Station.

The California-based SpaceX launched its unmanned Falcon rocket from Cape Canaveral on Sunday night.

Aboard the rocket was a Dragon capsule holding453.6kg of cargo, including chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream for the three station residents.

This is the first Dragon launch under a US$1.6 billion contract between SpaceX and Nasa. The contract calls for 12 resupply missions.

A Dragon flew to the space station in May, but it was a test so nothing vital was aboard.

The newest Dragon is hauling key experiments and other precious gear.

Dragon will reach the orbiting lab Wednesday.

 It will remain docked for nearly three weeks before returning to Earth with an even bigger load.