After a Success Liftoff, SpaceX Dragon is in Orbit

Liftoff !
(credit SpaceX)

This time, the signs all seemed to be pointing in the same direction.  With no technical issues developing during the countdown, and the weather forecast improving in the final hour before launch, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off precisely on time at 8:35:07 PM Eastern time en route to a historic first regularly scheduled supply mission to the International Space Station.

Rising over on a pillar of orange flame on a muggy fall evening in Florida, the Falcon 9 made its way to a clean orbital insertion, including a successful  deployment of the Dragon capsule’s retracted solar panels.

The next item up is successful opening of the sensor bay hatch containing the Dragon’s attachment hardpoint.

Update: At a post launch press conference, SpaceX noted that engine number 1 experienced  an anomaly near the end of its burn. There are no further details at this point, but it seems likely this may have been an engine shutdown transient issue similar to that which occurred during the Falcon’s second flight.

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