A few minutes ago, Elon Musk shot apples into space.
That's an oversimplification, to be fair. The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket by SpaceX — the private space company of which Musk is CEO — contained a lot of other items destined for the International Space Station. Slate's Bad Astronomy blog, a key source of information for such events, explains the mission.
This is the second of 12 SpaceX missions to the ISS; the first operational flight was in May 2012, which carried supplies to the station. Today's flight will carry 550 kilograms (1200 pounds) of supplies to the astronauts in orbit. The Dragon capsule is planned to return on March 25, carrying well over a ton of cargo back to Earth, including scientific experiments, supplies, and hardware no longer needed on orbit.
The rocket moved to the launchpad yesterday
Fox News has more details on the cargo which, unlike last time, won't include ice cream.
The freezers going up are filled with mouse stem cells, protein crystals and other research items. On the previous Dragon delivery in October, chocolate-vanilla swirl was tucked inside.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said snacks straight from the orchard of an employee's father are on board -- and not just apples.
"It's a little bit healthier, I think, than the one that NASA sent last time," she told reporters on the eve of the flight.
That is no fun.
Musk has been pushing hard for expansion of private space travel. Last month, he outlined his ongoing battles with major aerospace firms Lockheed Martin and Boeing in his efforts to secure government contracts to run missions like the one launched today.
We have not yet been able to confirm New York Times reports that today's rocket stopped halfway out of the atmosphere because it needed to be refueled.