Boeing Capsule Succeeds In Abort Test

  • picture boeing starliner launching from new mexico desert

    On Monday, Boeing's CST-100 Starliner tested it's ability to abort passengers safely. The operation, which was carried out in the desert of New Mexico, had a test dummy inside. 

    Boeing's CST-100 Starliner is a spacecraft under construction in participation with NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program. The main purpose for the Starliner will be to transport crew to and from the International Space Station (ISS) and to proposed private space stations such as the Bigelow Aerospace Commercial Space Station. The capsule has a diameter of 15 feet and can support a crew of seven people, and it will be reusable for up to ten missions (currently all spacecraft is single use). 

    An important part of testing spacecraft is making sure that it can evacuate passengers safely if something goes wrong. 

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  • picture starliner capsule with two parachutes in air

    In order to mimic an emergency situation, the capsule had to catapult at 650 mph (1,046 km/h) in 5 seconds from the launch pad (which would be a stationary spacecraft in a real-life situation). Two of the three parachutes that were attached to the capsule were deployed, but NASA said in a later statement that this would have been enough to get the crew safely to Earth. The capsule soared a mile horizontally, then another mile down to Earth. 

  • picture three astronauts two reporters going on crew flight next year starliner

    NASA tweeted "[Boeing Space's] Starliner spacecraft soared through a critical safety milestone in a major test of its launch abort system this morning. Lots of data analysis ahead, but we are one big step closer to flights with crew!". The three astronauts who are assigned for the first crew flight next year were present. 

  • picture starliner capsule landing in new mexico desert with parachutes attached to it

    Since the abort mission landed safely, NASA and Boeing are moving onto the next mission: on December 17, the Starliner capsule will launch aboard United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral. The capsule will stay at the ISS for a week before descending back to Earth. This will be the first U.S. crew capsule to return from orbit to solid ground, one of the many firsts in space travel that are sure to accelerate in the coming years.  


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