SpaceX to simulate astronaut ejection in final test

WASHINGTON (AFP) – SpaceX will today simulate its emergency abort system on an unmanned spacecraft, the last major test before it plans to send NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

The space company of entrepreneur Elon Musk, under contract with NASA, launched its Crew Dragon capsule from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

This test will check the capsule’s ability to reliably carry crew to safety in the event of an emergency on ascent.

One minute and 24 seconds after takeoff, at an altitude of approximately 12 miles above the Atlantic, the Crew Dragon triggered a planned ejection from the Falcon 9 rocket carrying it into the atmosphere.

The capsule’s descent into the water will be slowed by parachutes, while the Falcon 9 is expected to break up.