(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) — SpaceX showed NASA Wednesday that the private space company has the right stuff to one day take humans to space.
A pad abort test Wednesday morning of SpaceX’s Dragon crew vessel successfully demonstrated its safety mechanisms, as the private space company showed NASA it’s on track to take astronauts to space as early as 2017.
The abort system is located inside Dragon, allowing future crew members to quickly escape in the event of a potential failure.
Wednesday’s test took less than two minutes as eight SuperDraco engines lifted Dragon 5,000 feet above the launch pad.
Dragon detached from its rocket, deployed its parachutes and continued a controlled descent into the Atlantic Ocean, landing a mile from shore, where it bobbed in the water, waiting to be recovered.
A dummy was on board the vessel, allowing SpaceX to collect data on how the emergency evacuation test may affect the human body.
NASA last year awarded multi-billion dollar deals to Boeing and SpaceX for development of spacecraft to shuttle astronauts to and from space.
In the interim, NASA has been purchasing seats aboard the Russian Soyuz.
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