CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Oct. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) Falcon 9 rocket carrying its Dragon spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 8:35 p.m. EDT Sunday, beginning NASA's first contracted cargo delivery flight, designated SpaceX CRS-1, to the International Space Station. Under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract, SpaceX will fly at least 12 cargo missions to the space station through 2016. The contract is worth $1.6 billion. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) The Dragon spacecraft will be grappled at 7:22 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10, by Expedition 33 crew members Sunita Williams of NASA and Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, who will use the station's robotic arm to install the Dragon. The capsule is scheduled to spend 18 days attached to the station. It then will return for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California. "Just over one year after the retirement of the space shuttle, we have returned space station cargo resupply missions to U.S. soil and are bringing the jobs associated with this work back to America," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "The SpaceX launch tonight marks the official start of commercial resupply missions by American companies operating out of U.S. spaceports like the one right here in Florida." Dragon is delivering a total of 882 pounds of supplies to the orbiting laboratory, including 260 pounds of crew supplies, 390 pounds of scientific research, 225 pounds of hardware and several pounds of other supplies. Dragon will return a total of 1,673 pounds of supplies, including 163 pounds of crew supplies, 866 pounds of scientific research, 518 pounds of vehicle hardware and other hardware.