SpaceX Conducts Capsule Landing Tests

NASA said late last week that Hawthorne-based space rocket firm SpaceX has tested its ability to land its astronaut landing pod, the SuperDraco, by firing landing engines. NASA said the tethered testing--conducted in McGregor, Texas--is aimed at bringing astronauts back to space with as much accuracy as landing a helicopter. NASA said that the testing is aimed at helping engineers refine landing software and systems on the spacecraft. NASA is not currently planning on using the rocket landing -- called "propulsive landing" -- instead, it plans to splash down crew in the SpaceX Dragon in the ocean using parachutes. The testing apparently occurred in November.