TheÂ SpaceX-built Dragon spacecraft launched Sunday morning from NASA‘s Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard aÂ Falcon 9 rocket toÂ deliver 5,500 pounds of experiments, research equipment and suppliesÂ to the International Space Station as part of the company’s 10th cargo resupply mission with the agency.
NASA said Sunday the CRS-10 mission represents the first commercial launch from KSC’s LaunchÂ Complex 39A and will support more than 250 studies duringÂ Expeditions 50 and 51 on the space station.
SpaceXÂ received a contract worth up toÂ $700 million in February 2016 to conduct five additional flights underÂ the Commercial Resupply ServicesÂ program.
Equipment aboard the Dragon spacecraft include the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment instrument that is designed to assess the levels of aerosols, nitrogen dioxide, levels of ozone and water vapor in the stratosphere and troposphere above Earth.
SAGE III will be installed outside of the station to make daily observations and will build on a 1979 experiment that developed a multi-decade record of measurements, NASA noted.
NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and the European Space Agency’s Thomas Pesquet will useÂ the ISS’ robotic arm to grabÂ the Dragon spacecraft upon its arrival to the station.
The space agency expectsÂ the vehicleÂ toÂ leave the space station withÂ approximatelyÂ 5,000 pounds of crew supplies, hardware and science equipment in March.