• SpaceX successfully completes 10th parachute drop test
  • The company will do 10 more tests of its parachute system
  • Boeing falls behind in the race due to recent issues

SpaceX said it moved one step closer to launching a manned space flight after it successfully completed its 10th parachute drop test. The Elon Musk-led space exploration company's Crew Dragon astronaut capsule will be ready for launch in the first quarter if everything goes according to plans.

The latest drop in New Mexico on December 22 tested the three-parachute Mark 3 system, which replaced Mark 2 earlier this year. According to a report by SpaceNews, the company will attempt ten more drop tests to continue analyzing the safety data before moving forward.
The successful test has given the company a lead over its competitors, including Boeing, in the race to get a new capsule certified by Nasa for crude space flight. Mark 3 solves problems with deployment by using a process known as asymmetrical loading of the chutes.

SpaceX Crew Dragon
Personnel from NASA, SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force have begun practicing recovery operations for the SpaceX Crew Dragon. Using a full-size model of the spacecraft that will take astronauts to the International Space Station, Air Force parajumpers practice helping astronauts out of the SpaceX Crew Dragon following a mission. SpaceX/ Public Domain

Emergency escape and safety have been the primary focus of NASA while developing a new space program. The agency is not willing to send another craft into space containing humans unless they can safely eject and land.

SpaceX will now sit down with experts and pour over the data from the ten drop tests making any necessary changes before the next ten are completed. There is a race to get the space program back in action, but SpaceX is focused on the safety of the astronauts.