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SpaceX says 'picture perfect' test paves way for human mission

Updated : 2020-01-20 13:58:09

Elon Musk's SpaceX simulated a successful emergency landing on Sunday in a dramatic test of a crucial abort system on an unmanned astronaut capsule, a big step in its mission to fly NASA astronauts for the first time as soon as this spring. A Crew Dragon astronaut capsule launched at 10:30 a.m. and softly splashed down about 19 miles (32 km) off the coast of Cape Canaveral in Florida about eight minutes later, after ejecting itself from a rocket that cut off its engines 12 miles (19 km) above the ocean to mimic a launch failure.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon astronaut capsule, lifts off on an in-flight abort test , a key milestone before flying humans in 2020 under NASA's commercial crew program, from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Steve Nesius
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon astronaut capsule, lifts off on an in-flight abort test , a key milestone before flying humans in 2020 under NASA's commercial crew program, from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Steve Nesius
SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk attends a post-launch news conference to discuss the SpaceX Crew Dragon astronaut capsule in-flight abort test at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Steve Nesius
SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk attends a post-launch news conference to discuss the SpaceX Crew Dragon astronaut capsule in-flight abort test at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Steve Nesius
New construction surrounds the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 booster rocket on historic Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. January 18, 2020. REUTERS/Steve Nesius
New construction surrounds the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 booster rocket on historic Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. January 18, 2020. REUTERS/Steve Nesius
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon astronaut capsule, lifts off on an in-flight abort test , a key milestone before flying humans in 2020 under NASA's commercial crew program, from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Thom Baur
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon astronaut capsule, lifts off on an in-flight abort test , a key milestone before flying humans in 2020 under NASA's commercial crew program, from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Thom Baur
NASA Commercial Crew Manager Kathy Lueders, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, SPaceX founder Elon Musk and NASA Commercial Crew astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover attend a post-launch news conference to discuss the SpaceX Crew Dragon astronaut capsule in-flight abort test at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
NASA Commercial Crew Manager Kathy Lueders, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, SPaceX founder Elon Musk and NASA Commercial Crew astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover attend a post-launch news conference to discuss the SpaceX Crew Dragon astronaut capsule in-flight abort test at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley (R) and Bob Behnken speak at a news conference after SpaceX completed an in-flight abort test at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., January 19, 2020. The astronauts are expected to be the first crew on a SpaceX test launch to the International Space Station. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley (R) and Bob Behnken speak at a news conference after SpaceX completed an in-flight abort test at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., January 19, 2020. The astronauts are expected to be the first crew on a SpaceX test launch to the International Space Station. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
NASA astronaut Bob Behnken speaks at a news conference after SpaceX completed an in-flight abort test at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., January 19, 2020. The astronauts are expected to be the first crew on a SpaceX test launch to the International Space Station. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
NASA astronaut Bob Behnken speaks at a news conference after SpaceX completed an in-flight abort test at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., January 19, 2020. The astronauts are expected to be the first crew on a SpaceX test launch to the International Space Station. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
NASA astronaut Doug Hurley speaks at a news conference after SpaceX completed an in-flight abort test at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., January 19, 2020. The astronauts are expected to be the first crew on a SpaceX test launch to the International Space Station. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
NASA astronaut Doug Hurley speaks at a news conference after SpaceX completed an in-flight abort test at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., January 19, 2020. The astronauts are expected to be the first crew on a SpaceX test launch to the International Space Station. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk listens to NASA Commercial Crew astronauts Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins at a post-launch news conference to discuss the SpaceX Crew Dragon astronaut capsule in-flight abort test at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk listens to NASA Commercial Crew astronauts Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins at a post-launch news conference to discuss the SpaceX Crew Dragon astronaut capsule in-flight abort test at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
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