The head of Nasa has hailed a "new era" in exploration after the launch of the first cargo delivery to the space station by a private company.
The Falcon rocket, topped by an unmanned Dragon freight capsule, lifted clear of its Florida pad at 03:44 EDT (07:44 GMT; 08:44 BST).
The launch system has been built by California-based firm SpaceX.
The initial climb to an altitude some 340km above the Earth lasted a little under 10 minutes.
Within moments of being ejected, Dragon opened its solar panels.
It also unpacked its navigation equipment.
Nasa's administrator Charles Bolden said: "Today marks the beginning of a new era in exploration... The significance of this day cannot be overstated; a private company has launched a spacecraft to the International Space Station that will attempt to dock there for the first time.
"And while there is a lot of work ahead to successfully complete this mission, we are certainly off to good start."
It will take a couple of days to reach the station. The plan currently is for the vessel to demonstrate its guidance, control and communications systems on Thursday, at a distance of 2.5km from the International Space Station (ISS).
I personally find it good to see that the private sector is starting to take an interest in space; maybe this will help us on the path to colonization on other planets.
However, after reading Dan Brown's Deception Point, I am kinda afraid that they'll, like other major corporations in certain fields, use the stuff to monopolize space and turn it into an advertising campaign land (highest bidder).