SpaceX: Elon Musk's spacecraft launches today but here's how it could land closer to Kerry than outer spaceby Aoife Walsh
A spacecraft that is expected to launch from American soil tonight could end up landing closer to Co Kerry than in outer space.
NASA is preparing to send astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to orbit outer space in a spacecraft built by SpaceX, a company founded by Elon Musk.
It's the first time SpaceX will launch people into space.
However, space commentator, Leo Enright, said that the two men could find themselves closer to Skellig Micheal, Co Kerry, than to space if the mission fails.
"We're not expecting this to happen, But the blunt reality is that spaceflight is a dangerous business," he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland.
"These men will liftoff from Cape Canaveral, they will blast their way up to the east coast of the United States. They will enter orbit, high above the Atlantic if everything goes well.
"But if anything goes wrong in the final seconds before they go into orbit, there is only one thing they can do, fire their booster rockets to aim themselves to splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean, just 40 kilometres from Skellig Michael, they will land in the Atlantic Ocean, just 40 kilometers off the coast of Ireland."
He said the trip is a "test of the launch system."
"They want to make sure that they can safely send two astronauts to link up with the space station, and then, potentially they could spend a number of weeks, living and working on the space station."
Mr Enright added that if the mission is successful, it could "open up the prospect that they start launching tourists who pay for their own ride, and it could become potentially a big big business. "
The launch will take place at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 9:30 pm Irish time.
NASA will stream the launch from it's website, which can be found here.