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NASA clears SpaceX test flight to space station

NASA is developing a new technique to forecast malaria outbreaks in Myanmar from space, as the emergence of new drug-resistant strains in Southeast Asia threatens efforts to wipe out the deadly disease globally. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Reuters Cape Canaveral, FL, USA Feb 23, 2019, 09.09 AM (IST)

NASA gave its final go-ahead on Friday to billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX company to conduct its first unmanned test flight of a newly designed crew capsule to the International Space Station on March 2.

The approval cleared a key hurdle for SpaceX in its quest to help NASA revive America's human spaceflight program, stalled since space shuttle missions came to an end in 2011.

NASA has awarded SpaceX $2.6 billion, and aerospace rival Boeing Co $4.2 billion to build separate rocket and capsule launch systems to carry US astronauts to and from the space station, an orbital research laboratory that flies 250 miles above Earth.

"Following a full day of briefings and discussion, NASA and SpaceX are proceeding with plans to conduct the first uncrewed test flight of the Crew Dragon on a mission to the International Space Station," NASA said in a statement announcing its decision.

Story highlights

The approval cleared a key hurdle for SpaceX in its quest to help NASA revive America's human spaceflight program, stalled since space shuttle missions came to an end in 2011.