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They've had many notable failures, from the first 3 attempts to launch a Falcon 1, to two different Falcon 9 failures -- including destruction of payload -- with major consequences and delays that resulted:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Falcon_9_and_Falcon_He...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Falcon_9_and_Falcon_He...

Each did diminish their reputation, but they have kept going. They can weather more failures, and every launch is still pretty nerve-wracking.

The stakes will be higher when they start carrying people, perhaps next year.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX_Dragon#Crewed_developme...




The crew escape system on the Dragon as described by your link is a huge advance over the Shuttle. So while a launch failure on a manned flight is likely inevitable, casualties are not.


All manned spacecraft in history had launch escape systems (or at least ejection seats, on Gemini and Vostok). Except for the Space Shuttle... The Dragon 2 system is a first though, in that it uses liquid propellants and is highly controllable - as opposed to throwaway solid rockets used everywhere else.




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