SpaceX just completed a “risky” and explosive test that was designed to show its Crew Dragon capsule can whisk astronauts to safety in the event of a rocket failure.
The company’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 10:30 a.m. ET but was intentionally shut down about 84 seconds into its flight.
Although the rocket blew up soon afterward, the Crew Dragon (with no people on board) quickly detached, flew away, and later landed in the Atlantic Ocean.
Company founder Elon Musk said he is “super fired up” by the initial results — as did Kathy Lueders, a NASA program manager.
If data from the test show Crew Dragon is safe to carry human passengers, SpaceX might launch its first astronauts this spring.
On Sunday, one of SpaceX’s 230-foot-tall Falcon 9 rockets broke apart and exploded into a fireball about 84 seconds after launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida. On any other day, such a catastrophe might be a tragedy. But during a post-launch press briefing, the faces of Musk and NASA executives beamed with smiles: the rocket failure was an intentional sacrifice designed put Crew Dragon, a new commercial spaceship for NASA astronauts, through an ultimate safety test.
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