SpaceX rocket Falcon 9
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Private space capsule Dragon ship launched on Falcon 9

A private US capsule that could soon be hauling cargo and even astronauts to the space station has launched on its first demonstration flight.

The Dragon ship launched from Florida on a Falcon 9 rocket at 1543GMT (1043 EST).

The capsule separated under 10 minutes after launch and has reached orbit, its manufacturer SpaceX said.

After completing several manoeuvres some 300km above Earth, the capsule splashed down in the Pacific.

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