Thursday evening, February 28th, SpaceX's Falcon 9 went vertical at Launch Complex 39A, Kennedy Space Center with their new crew vehicle on top. This is the spacecraft that will become the first commercial crew vehicle to launch and autonomously dock with the International Space Station.
Dragon isn't flying empty - A dummy, or a "smarty" as they're calling it, will be riding in one of the seats of Dragon as it launches to the ISS and when it returns back to Earth next week. This mannequin will be sporting SpaceX's flight suit and will have tons of sensors to monitor the stresses launch and reentry will have on the astronauts riding in this capsule. Dragon will also be carrying cargo and supplies up to the International Space Station as well as returning experiments back to Earth.
The launch will be taking place tonight at 2:48am EST from LC-39a at the Kennedy Space Center, FL. The first stage will land on the droneship "Of Course I Still Love You" positioned out in the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the trajectory of this mission to reduce G-Force loads on the crew, the first stage will not be landing on land.
Following this successful launch and later recovery of Dragon, the capsule will be recovered and refurbished for it's next flight, which will be the In Flight Abort launch. Around Max-Q, Maximum Aerodynamic forces on the vehicle, Dragon will abort and ignite its superdraco engines, pulling it away from the booster and proving the reliability and safety of their integrated abort system. After Dragon separates, it's believed that the first stage booster will be blown up from the aerodynamic forces tearing It apart and will not be recovered.