SpaceX launch sends 3D bioprinter to space station

A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket takes off at Cape Canaveral Credit: John Raoux/AP

A space capsule carrying a 3D printer to make human tissue is on its way to the International Space Station after a thunderous SpaceX launch.

The private company’s Falcon 9 rocket dodged threatening clouds in its lift-off, sending a Dragon capsule on its third trip to the orbiting outpost. The ship will dock with the station early on Saturday.

Dragon is carrying science experiments, several of which concentrate on cellular science, as well as normal supplies.

Officials at biotech companies nScrypt and Techshot Inc say the mini-refrigerator-sized 3D printer will be controlled by scientists on the ground and print nerve cells, muscle cells and proteins.

The experiment uses the near lack of gravity to help the cells hold their shape.