Boeing crew capsule launched mile into air on test flight

Boeing crew capsule launched mile into air on test flight

Boeing issued the following statement regarding the successful CST-100 Starliner pad abort test.

The deployment failure happened during a so-called pad abort test of a system created to propel the crew to safety in the event of an emergency, Boeing spokesman Todd Blecher said by email. During Monday's test, Starliner's four launch abort engines, and several orbital maneuvering and attitude control thrusters simultaneously ignited to rapidly push the spacecraft away from the launch pad.

Boeing and USA space agency NASA said they were still targeting December 17 for the Starliner's first unpiloted mission to the International Space Station. "Our teams across the program have made remarkable progress to get us to this point, and we are fully focused on the next challenge - Starliner's uncrewed flight to demonstrate Boeing's capability to safely fly crew to and from the space station".

If Monday's pad abort test is successful, then it will set the stage for Starliner's first test launch to the International Space Station. Since the, the United States has relied on purchasing seats on Russian Soyuz capsules to reach the International Space Station. The entire flight lasted one-and-a-half minutes. The capsule, launched from a test stand, accelerated about 650 miles per hour (1,000 kmp/h) in five seconds flat. "However, having two of three deploy successfully is acceptable for the test parameters and crew safety".

Next up is the orbital test flight. The plan is for the capsule to remain at the space station close to a week before heading for a touchdown in the western US. SpaceX's crew capsule splashes down in the Atlantic, like NASA's old Mercury, Gemini and Apollo capsules.

The need for this system is described as a very "unlikely" scenario by Boeing and NASA, but the agency and its partners are emphasizing safety as they develop both Boeing's and SpaceX's new crew transportation spacecrafts. Northrop Grumman's Cygnus capsule arrived at the orbiting lab on today with a fresh delivery, the company's 12th.

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