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A recent test of SpaceX's Dragon vessel -- which can seat as many as seven astronauts -- shows the spacecraft test firing its engines and hovering for five seconds above the launchpad.
Video of the November 24 test in McGregor, Texas, was posted online Thursday by SpaceX. The test was conducted to show vehicle control and to meet a milestone for NASA's Commercial Crew Program.
The Dragon spacecraft has eight SuperDraco thrusters that SpaceX envisions slowing the spacecraft's return and setting it down gently back on Earth. While SpaceX showed its technology is ready, propulsive landing initially won't be used for its missions. NASA said the vessel will instead use parachutes and splash down in the ocean when its bringing passengers back to Earth.
Hover test of our Dragon 2 spacecraft that can carry cargo and crew https://t.co/H0F7hQbZlB— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 21, 2016
Last May, SpaceX passed another key safety test when Dragon launched, detached from a rocket and parachuted into the Atlantic. A dummy stood in for a human crew, allowing SpaceX to collect data on how the emergency abort procedure could potentially affect the human body. SpaceX said the results show a human would have survived the emergency evacuation.
In 2014, NASA awarded multi-billion dollar deals to Boeing and SpaceX for development of spacecraft to shuttle astronauts to and from space.