The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
The Dragon is capable of carrying astronauts - though this morning it is unmanned. The expectation is eventually SpaceX will use the Dragon/Falcon platform to carry people and supplies to the International Space Station.
If SpaceX can bring the capsule safely back to Earth, it will be the first private company to do so in history.
"Getting this far, this fast, has been a remarkable achievement," NASA's acting director of commercial spaceflight development, Phil McAlister told the Associated Press. He stressed that it was "very, very difficult."
While the focus right now is on the Dragon, certainly engineers are just as pleased with the performance of the Falcon rocket, which has failed on launch several times previously.
Elon Musk created SpaceX with proceeds from his fortune made at Bay Area-based PayPal. In addition to SpaceX and Tesla, he is a big investor in solar energy through SolarCity.