This is the final obstacle before SpaceX can fly astronauts to orbit

Tim Fernholz
This is the final obstacle before SpaceX can fly astronauts to orbit

Early on Jan. 18, SpaceX will launch an uncrewed Dragon spacecraft, designed to carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on its Falcon 9 rocket. Rather than completing the trip, as the vehicles did in a dry run less than a year ago, the rocket’s progress will be intentionally aborted 84 seconds into the flight in order in a test of the Dragon’s emergency escape rockets. If all goes according to plan, the Dragon will zip to safety, deploying its parachutes and descending into the Atlantic ocean.