Space travel can be deadly, but entrepreneur Elon Musk and NASA have done everything they can to protect the two veteran astronauts who blasted off Saturday on the first manned commercial mission.
First, the bad news: There’s a 1-in-276 chance that the mission could be fatal, according to NASA and SpaceX, Musk’s aerospace manufacturing company that built the rocket.
Now, the good news: There’s a 1-in-60 chance that the mission could fail, but astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behrken still survive, Business Insider reported.
How can the odds of walking away alive be that good?
It’s all because of the emergency abort system in the Crew Dragon capsule is designed to break away from the Falcon 9 rocket if things go south.
Then, Crew Dragon would fire eight SuperDraco engines to get Hurley and Behrken as far away as possible.
Once in the clear, the Dragon would deploy four giant parachutes and drift down to the Atlantic Ocean where rescue teams would scoop up the astronauts.
Not to worry, Musk and his engineers have tested this maneuver more than once — but not, of course, with the astronauts inside.
“Space is hard, you do your best,” Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell told the Post.
“The Falcon 9 is not a new rocket. It’s flown 80 times and only blown up a couple of times. It’s pretty reliable as rockets go. The new thing is the human crew. That raises the stakes — or retired a lot of the risk — which is NASA jargon for the same thing.”
Hurley and Behnken clearly have the right stuff because they’re cool with the dangers.
“I think we’re really comfortable with it,” Behnken told Business Insider earlier this month.
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