International Space Station

SpaceX launches test of abort system to keep astronauts safe

A top-down view of a Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket. (Artist's illustration)
Artist's illustration of a Crew Dragon atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Illustration: SpaceX

SpaceX on Sunday completed an in-flight test of its abort system designed to keep astronauts safe in the event of an emergency during launch.

Why it matters: The test marks the last major milestone ahead of SpaceX's first crewed flight to the International Space Station for NASA.

The make-or-break moment for U.S. spaceflight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

This year Boeing and SpaceX will push to launch astronauts to orbit for NASA after years of delays, in an attempt to end U.S. reliance on Russian rockets for rides to the International Space Station.

Why it matters: Up and coming space powers like India and China are making plays at sending astronauts into space while launching increasingly ambitious missions to the Moon as NASA has been riding on its Cold War-era achievements in human spaceflight.