Published: May 22, 2012 11:01 AM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - A commercial rocket has blasted off with a load of supplies for the International Space Station. The SpaceX company's Falcon 9 rocket took flight at 3:44 a.m. today from Cape Canaveral, opening a new era of spaceflight. It carried a capsule named Dragon that is packed with 1,000 pounds of space station provisions. This is the first time a private business has launched a vessel to the space station. That's something only major governments have done - until now. The real test comes Thursday when the Dragon gets close to the space station. It will undergo practice maneuvers from more than a mile out. If all goes well, the docking will occur Friday. NASA and SpaceX stress that this is a demonstration flight.