SpaceX has launched its newest solar sail to the International Space Station and is on track to launch the world to a new era of space exploration.
The rocket’s launch vehicle, known as the Falcon Heavy, lifted off from the Florida spaceport on Sunday and was set to land in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, shortly before midnight EDT.
The mission was part of SpaceX’s $1.6 billion commercial crew program, which includes the launch of the Dragon capsule to the space station and a demonstration mission to land a SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule on the International Ocean.
In order to make the launch, SpaceX needed to send a Falcon Heavy to the ISS, which is a step closer to becoming a reality.
The Falcon Heavy has been used on many commercial missions before, including a trip to the moon in 2017.
But SpaceX’s first commercial mission to the Space Station is not expected to be its last.
The new solar sail, dubbed the “Starfish” or the “sail of destiny”, will be used to power the Space Launch System rocket that will carry the Dragon spacecraft to the station.
The SpaceX Dragon capsule will carry about 50 tonnes of supplies to the orbiting lab.
It will also serve as the crew for the first stage of the rocket, which will carry astronauts to and from the orbiting outpost.
SpaceX hopes to have a new commercial crew service to the orbital outpost operational by 2022.
In February 2018, SpaceX successfully delivered a Dragon cargo craft to the outpost.
The Dragon will also provide a platform for testing and experiments.
Spacex is also developing a robotic capsule to ferry cargo to and off the space outpost.