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SpaceX launches dummy into space to see if capsule is safe for humans

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — America’s newest capsule for astronauts is rocketing toward the International Space Station on a high-stakes test flight by SpaceX.

A Falcon rocket blasted off with the crew Dragon capsule early Saturday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The only passenger is a life-size test dummy, named Ripley from the “Alien” movies. SpaceX needs to nail the debut of the capsule before putting people on board later this year.

The Dragon should reach the space station Sunday.

Among the estimated 5,000 launch spectators at Kennedy were the two NASA astronauts who will strap in as early as July for the second demo, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. It’s been eight years since Hurley and three other astronauts flew the last space shuttle mission, and human launches from Florida ceased.

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