Billionaire Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of
After the rocket blasted off from
He then followed with tweets thanking
Elsewhere on the social networking site, congratulations flowed in from users in Dubai, congressmen, senators, executives at
Some compared Musk to comic book superhero and "Avengers" character Tony Stark.
The launch represents the first time a private company has sent a spacecraft to the International Space Station and the beginnings of NASA's plan to outsource missions now that its fleet of space shuttles is retired.
At the moment, SpaceX's rocket is only hauling cargo. Eventually, the company hopes to carry astronauts.
SpaceX, officially known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., had tried to send the Falcon 9 into orbit Saturday but had technical difficulties at the last minute.
And it's still too early to tell if the mission is a success. The rocket must now circle Earth to meet up with the space station and then complete a series of complicated tests to determine if it is capable of docking – an event that could happen as early as Friday.
But the spacecraft, made in a Hawthorne facility and the first U.S.-produced rocket to fly to the space station in years, is generating plenty of excitement in the interim.
NASA weighed in, with Administrator
The White House congratulated the SpaceX and NASA teams on the successful launch in a statement from John P. Holdren, assistant to the president for science and technology.
"Every launch into space is a thrilling event, but this one is especially exciting because it represents the potential of a new era in American spaceflight," Holdren said.
Pairing up with private companies to deliver goods and crew members to the space station "is a cornerstone of the president's plan for maintaining America's leadership in space," Holdren said.
As the morning progressed, Musk – whose past and present ventures also include