SPACEX is to carry out the first test of its Crew Dragon spacecraft today.
Elon Musk’s exploration company will link up with Nasa for the first space launch from US soil since 2011.
AP:Associated Press America will launch the Crew Dragon on it’s mission to the International Space Station
The craft takes off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on a Falcon 9 rocket, heading for the International Space Station.
The Crew Dragon is expected to reach the ISS at 11.05am UK time tomorrow.
A dummy pilot called Ripley – a nod to Sigourney Weaver’s character in the Alien movies – will make the journey and use sensors to feed back information.
Nasa will be scrutinising data from the test, in hopes of awarding SpaceX with certification to carry a crew.
Reuters The Space Dragon craft will be an unmanned mission
A trial carrying passengers for the first time could happen as soon as July, with two astronauts already assigned. Since ending its Shuttle programme, the US has bought seats on board Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.
This has been a very expensive arrangement, with seats at £61million each.
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Any space launch is always dependent on weather, but Nasa is optimistic, with an 80% chance of favourable conditions.
Reuters SpaceX and NASA are working together on the project and have big plans
AP:Associated Press The Crew Dragon has capacity for six passengers
Reuters Astronauts will head up on a second launch in July