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SpaceX completes last parachute test ahead of Crew Dragon test flight

SpaceX has successfully completed its final parachute test for the Crew Dragon capsule, which will carry two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) later this month. This first manned test flight will mark the first time that American astronauts have been launched into space from American soil since the ending of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.

The company shared the results of the parachute test on Twitter, showing an image of four Mark 3 parachuted successfully deployed and carrying a test weight safely back to Earth.

27th and final test of Crew Dragon’s upgraded Mark 3 parachutes complete – one step closer to flying @NASA astronauts @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug to the @space_station and safely returning them back home to Earth

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 1, 2020

Before the test, SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell spoke to reporters about the pressure she was feeling personally ahead of the historic launch, saying, “I’m nervous right now, because we’re about ready to fly Bob and Doug. And I’m pretty sure I’ll keep being nervous. They’ll be a little sense of relief when they’re in orbit, and more relief when they get to the station. And I’ll start sleeping again when they’re back safely on planet Earth.”

But she also voiced confidence in her team and in the company, saying, “Thousands of SpaceX employees are focused on this mission. We have pounded the issues associated with Dragon and Falcon more than any other mission we’ve had in our history. We have been to the International Space Station 21 times, and we hope that experience will help us to ensure this next flight to the International Space Station is even more spectacular and productive.”

With parachute tests complete, SpaceX can now focus on final preparations for the capsule and the rocket ready for the launch later this month. The company also shared an image of the Crew Dragon capsule being taken through final preparations:

Crew Dragon at the Cape undergoing final preparations ahead of first flight to the @Space_Station with @NASA astronauts onboard

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 1, 2020

The test flight is scheduled to take place on May 27 at 1:32 p.m. PT, when the capsule will be launched from atop a Falcon 9 rocket from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Although the public is usually welcomed to Kennedy to watch launches, NASA has specifically requested that members of the public stay away from the launch site and watch from home this time due to the global pandemic of coronavirus.

We’ll keep you up to date with the latest news and information on how to watch the event via livestream once it becomes available.

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Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
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