SpaceX just launched its final unmanned spacecraft
SpaceX is preparing for its final test before sending a human-crewed mission to the International Space Station.
The Elon Musk space company will simulate an emergency abort system on a crewless spacecraft, which will be the last major test before it can start hoofing astronauts to and from the ISS.
The company said it would launch its Crew Dragon capsule from the Kennedy Space Center later today.
The test will check the capsule’s ability to work in an emergency, and to safely deliver its human cargo back to earth.
You can watch the launch live right here:
One minute and 24-seconds after takeoff, at an altitude of 19-kilometres – the Crew Dragon will trigger an ejection from the Falcon 9 forcing it into the atmosphere. The capsule will then slowly but surely parachute down into the water, while the Falcon 9 is expected to break up.
The rocket “could explore, and create a fireball of some kind,” said Benji Reed, director of crew mission management for SpaceX.
The success of this test is essential for SpaceX and NASA, which urgently needs to certify astronauts to the ISS this year. The first crewed flight is expected to take place during March – at the earliest – said NASA commercial flight program chief Kathy Lueders.