(CNN) -- Belching smoke and fire, SpaceX's unmanned Dragon spacecraft successfully blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, Friday afternoon atop a Falcon 9 rocket on a resupply mission to the International Space Station.
The Dragon is carrying 2.5 tons of cargo in its third resupply mission to the ISS, according to a NASA statement.
The Dragon is scheduled to rendezvous with the International Space Station Sunday morning. The station's robotic arm will capture the space freighter, bringing it in for a berth at the Harmony module port, NASA said.
The spacecraft's payload includes some 150 experiments that range from growing plants efficiently in space to investigating how the human immune system functions in microgravity.
William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, said the planned experiments represent important research for the space program. The research "will help us improve our understanding of how humans adapt to living in space for long periods of time and help us develop technologies that will enable deep space exploration."
The Dragon will remain at the ISS for a month. When it leaves, it will bring back almost 3,500 pounds of scientific experiments, hardware, supplies and tools. It's scheduled to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, west of Baja, California, on May 18.
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