Rocket, weather look good on eve of new space era

May 18, 2012 - 2:48 PM
Private Space

The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket stands ready for launch at complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Friday, May 18, 2012. The launch, scheduled for early Saturday morning will mark for the first time, a private company will send its own rocket to the orbiting International Space Station, delivering food and ushering in a new era in America's space program. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA hasn't seen this much prelaunch jitters since the space shuttle program ended last summer.

On Saturday, a private company is set to make history by launching a supply ship to the International Space Station. The rocket maker known as SpaceX hopes to join a short list of governments in flying to the orbiting lab.

NASA officials said Friday this is a "seminal moment" for spaceflight and an extremely important mission.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to blast off from Cape Canaveral at precisely 4:55 a.m. Forecasters put the odds of good weather at 70 percent.

The Dragon capsule atop the rocket contains a half-ton of space station supplies. The capsule will perform practice maneuvers around the space station before NASA gives a "go" for docking on Tuesday.