The US company SpaceX on Tuesday became the first commercial outfit to send its own spacecraft toward the International Station with the launch of the cargo-bearing Dragon capsule.
"Three, two, one and launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, as NASA turns to the private sector to resupply the International Space Station," said NASA commentator George Diller as the spacecraft blasted off at 3.44am (7.44am GMT, 9.44am SAST).
The next challenge will come when the Dragon capsule has to extend its solar panels, needed to provide power to the craft.
However, the biggest issue will be docking with the International Space Station.
"The space station is zooming around the Earth every 90 minutes, and it is going 17 000 miles (27 000 kilometres) an hour," SpaceX chief Elon Musk told reporters in April.
"So you have got to launch up there and you've got to rendezvous and be backing into the space station within inches really, and this is something that is going 12 times faster than the bullet from an assault rifle. So it's hard."