Elon Musk's SpaceX Scores on Key Mission With NASA

Mission with NASA brings the private-government partnership closer to manned trips.
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Just weeks after the spacecraft miss for Boeing  (BA) - Get Report, the privately held SpaceX scored a crucial success on Sunday. 

With NASA, SpaceX -- which was founded by Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report honcho Elon Musk -- completed a "launch escape demonstration" of its Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket. 

The mission marked the last flight test required before the craft can bring astronauts aboard to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, according to NASA.

In late December, the BoeingSpace Starliner spacecraft failed to complete its unmanned mission to the space station after failing to reach the correct orbit, causing a setback for the commercial project. 

But on Sunday,  after a mid-morning launch test from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, SpaceX proved its craft could break off from the rocket in the case of an emergency.

“This critical flight test puts us on the cusp of returning the capability to launch astronauts in American spacecraft on American rockets from American soil,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement. “We are thrilled with the progress NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is making and look forward to the next milestone for Crew Dragon.”

The test occurred just 90 seconds after liftoff, according to NASA, which said "all major functions were executed, including separation, engine firings, parachute deployment and landing."

Just minutes later, the Crew Dragon descended into the Atlantic Ocean nearby.

“As far as we can tell thus far, it’s a picture perfect mission. It went as well as one can possibly expect," said Elon Musk, chief engineer at SpaceX, in a statement. 

NASA’s commercial space program is working with the American aerospace companies such as SpaceX and Boeing to create and run a new spacecraft and systems that will eventually take crew to the International Space Station and elsewhere.