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Updated Oct 7, 2012 - 5:52 pm

SpaceX Dragon capsule launched to space station

CAPE CANAVERAL -- A commercial supply ship is on its way to the International Space Station.

The California-based SpaceX launched its unmanned Falcon rocket from Cape Canaveral on Sunday night. Aboard the rocket was a Dragon capsule holding 1,000 pounds of cargo, including chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream for the three station residents.

This is the first Dragon launch under a $1.6 billion contract between SpaceX and NASA. The contract calls for 12 resupply missions.

A Dragon flew to the space station in May, but it was a test so nothing vital was aboard. The newest Dragon is hauling key experiments and other precious gear.

Dragon will reach the orbiting lab Wednesday. It will remain docked for nearly three weeks before returning to Earth with an even bigger load.

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