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SpaceX could launch NASA astronauts in a few months, Chief Executive Elon Musk said Sunday.
Musk spoke following a successful in-flight abort test of its Crew Dragon capsule, saying the company could operate a mission to carry astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station in second quarter of this year, likely sometime between April and June.
“We’re highly confident the hardware will be ready in Q1, most likely in February but no later than March,” Musk said in the press conference.
SpaceX has demonstrated two perfect launches of Crew Dragon on a Falcon 9 rocket. The first mission was to connect Dragon with the Space Station, then return to Earth. Sunday’s test was to ensure the Dragon Capsule could escape a rocket during a failure. The Falcon 9 used in the test was intentionally destroyed.
NASA and SpaceX plan two more tests of the Crew Dragon’s parachutes in mid-February to determine that the vehicle is ready to carry humans.