SpaceX tests Dragon launch escape system in skies over Florida

A Space Exploration Technologies’ passenger spaceship has made a quick debut test flight in Florida to demonstrate an emergency escape system.

The six-metre-tall Dragon capsule launched nearly 1.6 kilometres up and over the Atlantic Ocean. It tested SpaceX’s launch abort system designed to free the crew capsule from the Falcon 9 rocket in the event of a launch failure. 

The flight ended less than two minutes later with the capsule’s parachute splash-down about 2.6 kilometres east of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launch site.

“It was a great outcome,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk told reporters in a post-launch teleconference. “The important thing is that if there had been people on board, they would have been in great shape.” 

Bill Condie

Bill Condie

Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.

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