An astronaut capsule carrying two test dummies splashed down about 32km off the coast of Cape Canaveral in Florida after ejecting itself from a rocket.
The rocket cut off its engines 19km above the ocean on Sunday to mimic a launch failure.
Moments before the launch, Musk described the mission on Twitter as a risky one that was “pushing the envelope in so many ways”.
The Crew Dragon capsule, an acorn-shaped pod that can seat seven astronauts, fired thrusters to detach itself from the rocket less than two minutes after lift-off, simulating an emergency abort scenario to prove it can return astronauts to safety.
Each stage of the test prompted loud cheers from SpaceX crew members who were watching the footage from back on land.
The test is crucial to qualify the capsule to fly humans to the International Space Station, something NASA expects to happen as soon as mid-2020.
During the test the Falcon 9 rocket’s boosters shut down in a mock failure that triggered Crew Dragon’s so-called SuperDraco thrusters to jet itself away at supersonic speeds of up to 2400km/h.
The capsule deployed four parachutes to slow its descent to the water, and carried two human-shaped test dummies on seats fitted with motion sensors to collect data on the immense g-force – the effect of acceleration on the body – astronauts would be subjected to during the abort.
Want to comment?
Send us an email, making it clear which story you’re commenting on and including your full name (required for publication) and phone number (only for verification purposes). Please put “Reader views” in the subject.
We’ll publish the best comments in a regular “Reader Views” post. Your comments can be brief, or we can accept up to 350 words, or thereabouts.
InDaily has changed the way we receive comments. Go here for an explanation.
We value local independent journalism. We hope you do too.
InDaily provides valuable, local independent journalism in South Australia. As a news organisation it offers an alternative to The Advertiser, a different voice and a closer look at what is happening in our city and state for free. Any contribution to help fund our work is appreciated. Please click below to become an InDaily supporter.