Boeing Completes Parachute Testing For The Starliner

  • General
  • June 26, 2019
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  • 5 minutes read
A  — depiction of a — Boeing Starliner space capsule as it docks to the International Space Station

image: Boeing

Boeing has announced it has completed the fifth and final qualification test of the parachute system of the Starliner, a new space crew capsule the aerospace giant is constructing for NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program. NASA’s program — which also involves SpaceX — is a planned mission backed by the U.S. government to fly astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on privately operated space vehicles for the first time ever.

Boeing and SpaceX have been selected for the planned mission and have both come up with unique spacecraft designs to fly selected U.S. astronauts to the ISS. NASA, last year, unveiled the first nine astronauts that’ll fly on either SpaceX’s Crew Dragon or Boeing’s Starliner spacecrafts. For safety reasons, both spacecrafts are kit with parachute systems that’ll be deployed when required.

The International Space Station (ISS)

image: Boeing

Boeing now just completed the final test of the Starliner’s parachute system. For the test, two parachutes were intentionally disabled on a Starliner test model that was dropped from an altitude of 40,000 feet. The test model then deployed other parachutes and descended for four minutes before a touch down at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range, the same location that’ll serve as primary landing site for planned Starliner missions.

Each Starliner spacecraft will be equipped with more than six parachutes. The parachutes are complemented by airbags and other landing systems that’ll work to steer the spacecraft to a safe landing. Boeing is targeting a first launch of the Starliner — from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center — this summer.

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