WATCH: What to do (and what not to do) when you launch a rocket

This SpaceX photo obtained from NASA on July 1, 2018 shows at 5:42 a.m. EDT June 29, 2018, SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft as it lifted off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 29, 2018. Photo: SPACEX / AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - A ball-shaped artificial intelligence robot nicknamed the "flying brain" because it is trained to follow and interact with a German astronaut, blasted off Friday toward the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX's Dragon cargo ship.

The unmanned Dragon capsule carried 5,900 pounds (2,700 kilograms) on its 15th supply mission to the orbiting lab, as part of a $1.6 billion contract with NASA.

Both the capsule and the rocket have flown before.

The Dragon sent cargo to space in 2016 and the Falcon blasted off a NASA satellite two months ago.

The California-based aerospace company headed by Elon Musk is intent on re-using rocket parts and spacecraft to save money and lower the cost of spaceflight.

READ: Billionaire Elon Musk outlines plans for humans to colonise Mars

About 10 minutes into the flight, SpaceX confirmed that the Dragon has successfully deployed from the rocket's second stage and was in a "good orbit."

It should arrive at the station on July 2.




In stark contrast, a rocket developed by a Japanese start-up company crashed and exploded seconds after its launch in Hokkaido this weekend.

The 10-metre long rocket was meant to go as high as 100-kilometres into space.

The rocket was made by Interstellar Technologies, a company that creates low-cost, mini rockets.

(Additional reporting by eNCA.)


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