World's first private rocket launch

The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral in Florida Photo: John Raoux/AP/Press Association Images

The age of private space travel was launched today with the takeoff of the unmanned Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Falcon 9 is the first privately-owned rocket to travel to the International Space Station, where it will deliver a capsule containing food and clothing.

ITV News' Washington Correspondent Robert Moore reports:

The rocket has been built by SpaceX - a company owned by South African-born billionaire Elon Musk. The firm already holds contracts worth a combined $3.5 billion to fly cargo to the station.

The company is also among four firms vying to build space taxis to fly astronauts, tourists and non-NASA researchers.

As well as delivering supplies to the space station, Falcon 9 carries a capsule containing the ashes of 308 people, including those of the Star Trek actor James Doohan.

Falcon 9 was due to take-off on Saturday but the launch was cancelled at the last-second so a faulty engine valve could be replaced.