SpaceX is just days away from shooting up a crew capsule to test a launch escape system designed to save astronauts' lives.
Buster, the dummy, is already strapped in for Wednesday's nearly mile-high ride from Cape Canaveral, Florida. He'll be alone as the capsule is fired from a ground test stand and soars out over the Atlantic, then parachutes down.
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SpaceX is working to get astronauts launched from Cape Canaveral again, as is Boeing. NASA hired the two companies to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station to reduce its reliance on Russian rockets.
The California-based SpaceX is aiming for a manned flight as early as 2017.
NASA is insisting on a reliable launch abort system for crews — something its space shuttles lacked — in case of an emergency.