05/22/2012 04:03 am ET Updated May 22, 2012

SpaceX Launch: Falcon 9 Rocket Blasts Off On Historic Trip To International Space Station (VIDEO)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral early Tuesday morning.

The 3:44 a.m. launch followed numerous technical delays, including an aborted attempt on May 19.

Built by private spaceflight company Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), the cargo rocket will carry the firm's unmanned Dragon capsule to the International Space Station. If successful, it will be the first non-governmental spaceship to rendezvous and berth at the station during a mission sponsored by NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program.

According to, the Falcon 9 mission is the final test before SpaceX can begin running regular delivery missions to the outpost. The company has already signed a $1.6 billion contract to fly at least 12 of these missions.