SpaceX CRS-1 (Falcon 9)
7 October 2012

Images from the launch of the first Commercial Resupply mission (CRS-1) to the International Space Station being carried out by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft on 7 October 2012 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The pictures were taken from the NASA Causeway inside Kennedy Space Center. The launch guests were bused out to the site at sunset.

Photographers set up their equipment. My forlorn tripod and camera divide the thoughtful people who brought chairs with them.
Vivid shades of pink faded to black as the Sun disappeared below the horizon.
The Falcon 9 rocket topped with the Dragon spacecraft on the pad at Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The rocket is venting liquid oxygen used in conjunction with kerosene to fuel its engines. The Falcon 9 stands 157 feet tall with a diameter of 12 feet.

The Falcon 9 and Dragon lit by Xenon searchlights as darkness descended. From the NASA/SpaceX press release: "Why 'Falcon'? Falcon 9 is named for the Millennium Falcon in the 'Star Wars' movies. The number 9 refers to the nine Merlin engines that power Falcon 9's first stage; one Merlin vacuum engine powers the second stage."

Liftoff occurred on time at 8:35 p.m.
A shower of ice falls away from where it had formed around the liquid oxygen tanks. After deploying the Dragon spacecraft destined for the ISS, the Falcon 9 will later deploy an Orbcomm communication satellite into a different orbit for another commercial customer.
The NASA/SpaceX press release explains that the Dragon spacecraft is "....filled with about 1,000 pounds of supplies, including critical materials...." Toward the end of October Dragon is expected to return to Earth carrying "....about 734 pounds of scientific materials, including results from human research, biotechnology, materials and education experiments, as well as about 504 pounds of space station hardware."
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