SpaceX is one step closer to being the first privately-owned company to send astronauts to space. And one of the most important aspects of any mission is protecting the lives of the crew. So they recently tested an abort system that would propel astronauts to safety in the event of an emergency. And a point-of-view camera let us come along for the ride.

The abort system is part of the Dragon spacecraft, a small cargo vessel designed by SpaceX as the first commercial craft to travel to and from the International Space Station (ISS). Historically, governments have held a monopoly over space travel, but with rising costs and shrinking budgets, it was only a matter of time before private industry stepped in. And so far, things are looking good for SpaceX.

Dragon, a 13,000-pound spacecraft that can carry over 500 square feet of cargo, is currently employed to deliver supplies and equipment to and from the ISS. But the craft was designed from the start to carry humans and the folks at SpaceX are working feverishly to make this a reality. The abort system is a fundamental component to future manned missions.

The Crew Dragon, designed specifically to carry astronauts, blasted off from Florida's east coast earlier this month, accelerating from zero to 100 mph in only 1.2 seconds and soaring 5,000 feet into the air before the capsule separated from the rocket and splashed down into the Atlantic.

Elon Musk, of SpaceX, gave a glowing review.

"It was a great, great outcome," Musk said. "Had there been people on board, they would have been in great shape."

On May 21, a Dragon capsule returned safely from the ISS, successfully splashing down in the Pacific Ocean just off the Southern California coast. It delivered over 3,000 pounds of cargo from the station, some of which is eagerly anticipated by scientists back home. Astronauts aboard the ISS packed the Dragon with results of their science experiments, including roundworms that were used to study muscles and the aging process.

The Dragon lifted off from earth last month to transport groceries and supplies to the six astronauts currently aboard the ISS. Following its successful return on Thursday, Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti tweeted her congratulations to the world.

SpaceX intends to deliver astronauts to space by 2017, which should be welcome news to NASA. With the retirement of the Space Shuttles, NASA must currently rely on Russian vehicles for transport to and from the ISS. SpaceX hopes to change all of that, by contracting the safe delivery of humans into space.