SpaceX rocket destroys itself during crucial Dragon spaceflight test

APTOPIX Canada Blizzard

APTOPIX Canada Blizzard

After NASA and SpaceX successfully completed a launch escape demonstration of the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket, Elon Musk said that his aerospace company aims to send NASA astronauts to space between April and June this year. But before putting humans on board, SpaceX needed to prove the capsule's escape system would work in the event that a failure occurred during launch.

If all goes according to plan, 2020 will be the year that American astronauts rocket into space from American soil once again, after a 9-year hiatus.

"I'm super fired up", said Musk. "This is great. This is really great". The test Originally scheduled to launch on Saturday (Jan. 18), the unpiloted crew capsule was grounded for 24 hours due to unfavorable weather conditions at both the launch site and the Crew Dragon recovery zone, the Atlantic Ocean just off the Florida coast. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine also noted a number of parachute tests still required before the crewed launch.

Less than 90 seconds into the launch, the Falcon 9 rocket exploded. It is then jetisoned to burn up before the spacecraft reenters the atmosphere on its return to Earth. Two sets of parachutes were deployed ahead of splashdown to control the descent.

The test was designed on realistic grounds, with two test dummies, incorporated with sensors, sensing the jerks an actual crew would be facing.

Monty Python star Terry Jones dies
They made their television debut with the sketch-comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus , which premiered on October 5, 1969. He'd been diagnosed in recent years with primary progressive aphasia - a rare form of dementia that left him unable to speak.

NASA's commercial crew program manager Katie Luders said the launch interruption test was "our last open milestone" before allowing SpaceX to launch Doug Hurley and Robert Benken to the International Space Station. Instead of using a retro-style astrovan, SpaceX crews will travel to the launch pad in Tesla sports cars.

NASA has a similar contract with Boeing, which has developed the Starliner spacecraft for manned flights. Starlink satellites and then safe cargo to global space station are prominent projects of this commercial company. Benji Reed, director of crew mission said, "We test as we fly, and we want to practice as we fly". But that's shifting. Instead, through NASA's Commercial Crew program, the government will purchase seats for its astronauts on privately operated crew vehicles.

NASA is now laying the groundwork for human presence in low-Earth orbit to become more of a commercial domain, to pave the way for the space agency to focus its resources beyond.

Since then, astronauts have had to rely on Russia's Soyuz rockets to get to space.

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