Boeing statement regarding CST-100 Starliner pad abort test

Boeing statement regarding CST-100 Starliner pad abort test

Boeing statement regarding CST-100 Starliner pad abort test

The abort test saw the capsule accelerate to about 650 miles per hour in five seconds, verifying that Starliner's engines and thrusters are capable of firing in the event of an emergency while astronauts are sitting on the launch pad or ascending.

Boeing is conducting a pad abort test of their CST-100 Starliner spacecraft at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Shortly before landing, the service module dropped to the ground and a series of airbags on the bottom of Starliner inflated for a soft landing. We will review the data to determine how all of the systems performed, including the parachute deployment sequence. Only two of the three main parachutes opened, but both NASA and Boeing said astronauts would have been safe if aboard.

Parachute deployment has been among the top technical challenges both companies have faced that have raised questions over crew safety and pressured launch schedules.

Right now, NASA is anticipating the first human launches on SpaceX and Boeing's spaceships will occur early next year, more than eight years since the retirement of the space shuttle. These systems are created to protect astronauts in the event that an emergency happens before liftoff once launch day arrives.

The abort engines, built for Boeing by Aerojet Rocketdyne, would blast the crew away from danger and send them toward a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

If the test is a success, plans for the first unmanned orbital flight test of Starliner could take place December 17 aboard an Atlas V rocket.

High-performance parachutes are among the trickiest safety elements for Boeing's Starliner as well as for SpaceX's Crew Dragon, the other commercial space taxi that's being developed for station-bound astronauts.

Similar in size to the Orion, the Starliner can host a crew of up to seven astronauts, or five when space is also shared with cargo.

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