Space X, NASA OK first of 12 cargo missions

Updated:

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. —

NASA and Space X gave the go-ahead to the launch of a Falcon-9 rocket on Sunday night after a flight readiness review Friday afternoon.

Fresh off the heels of the company's flawless test flight in May, Space X is gearing up for regular supply runs to the International Space Station.

NASA officials said they are much needed trips.

"What is going up is contributing to more than 160 experiments that are under way," NASA spokesman Mike Curie said.

Space X is the first commercial venture to sell cargo missions to the space station

The last mission was considered a test flight and only docked with the space station after a series of tests proved it was capable of doing so without threatening the crew.

Since that success, Space X was given a $1.6 billion contract for 12 missions.

Eventually, the company wants to put people on board the dragon capsule.

Unsure how May's test flight would fare, NASA opted to load that capsule with nonessential supplies. This time, the capsule is loaded with a freezer, experiments, critical equipment and spare parts.

"These are samples and important hardware necessary to contnue the important science aboard the space station," Curie said.

The Dragon capsule is the only spacecraft capable of bringing large payloads back when it splashes down nearly after two and a half weeks after the mission begins.