New SpaceX cargo capsule blasts off to the ISS

STORY: The SpaceX launch vehicle, consisting of a Falcon 9 rocket topped with an autonomously operated Dragon 2 capsule, lifted off at 20:30 EST (0030 GMT) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

A live NASA webcast showed the spacecraft ascending from the launch tower as its Merlin engines roared to life in billowing clouds of vapor and a reddish fireball that lit up the night sky.

The International Space Station (ISS) is a laboratory orbiting about 250 miles above Earth.