SpaceX just completed a major milestone in its quest to carry humans to orbit. The private spaceflight firm has successfully conducted an in-flight test of Crew Dragon's launch escape system, with the capsule jettisoning itself from the Falcon 9 rocket and splashing down in the Atlantic soon afterward. As expected, the host rocket broke apart shortly after the escape due to the sudden change in aerodynamics and pressure.
The recovery process is expected to complete two hours after this writing. As such, it could be a while before SpaceX learns whether or not the capsule landed properly, and whether the two humanoid test objects inside remained intact.
This was the last big test before SpaceX could put humans aboard Crew Dragon and fly them to the International Space Station. There's still no specific date for that event besides early 2020, but the company can clearly breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the capsule's earlier testing troubles weren't symptomatic of larger issues.
Splashdown of Crew Dragon in the Atlantic Ocean! pic.twitter.com/V1C2Xfd9Mk— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 19, 2020