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Will Musk help US restart its manned missions to space?

It is difficult to believe that though the US is at the forefront of space exploration it hasn’t had the ability to conduct human missions to space for almost nine years now. But that may begin to change as soon as later today as SpaceX holds the first test of its space capsule designed to take humans to the International Space Station (ISS).

Success on Saturday will only be the first milestone in a months-long process as the US tries to regain self-sufficiency in one area where it has had to accept help from Russian.

The SpaceX launch — the mission’s called demo-1 — will be the first time a privately built spacecraft designed to carry humans is headed to the ISS.

No American astronaut has blasted off from US soil for a space mission since July 2011, when the Atlantis, the last mission of Nasa’s Space Shuttle programme, returned to Earth.

Nasa’s been paying to Russia a whopping $82 million to buy seats per astronaut for along with Elon Musk’s SpaceX — for them to make spacecraft.


➤There will be no humans on board on Saturday. Instead of a crew, it will be carrying a heavily wired dummy christened ‘Ripley’ (in homage to Sigourney Weaver’s character in the film,

➤ If the demo-1 test is successful, then an uncrewed abort test — a test of a launch escape system to check whether the crew can be efficiently moved to safety in case of an emergency on the launch pad — will be held.

➤ If it all goes to plan — there are heavy duty safety certifications to be obtained — then the first crewed SpaceX test flight to ISS could take off in July.


After take-off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the 6-day mission will see the Crew Dragon capsule dock with ISS whereupon the three astronauts in ISS will enter the Dragon.

They will unload the fresh supplies in the capsule and, in turn, load it up with science samples and old equipment The capsule will undock on March 8 and, as it returns to Earth, parachute into the Atlantic a couple hundred miles off the Florida coast.
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