Boeing announced that it performed a test of its Starliner crew capsule that ended up being successful. The test was carried out on Monday, but one of the mini parachutes created to make the landing back to Earth more smooth failed to function.
The examination of the system took place in the New Mexico desert at the White Sands Missile Range and only took approximately 95 seconds.
The Starliner capsule is designed to transport American astronauts to the International Space Station and back. Set on a small launch wad, the capsule had four engines that imitated an emergency landing in which the vehicle, on top of a rocket, would have to rapidly separate to take the scientists safely on the ground.
Its four engines started blazing and launched the Starliner at full speed in the atmosphere. After about 20 seconds, there were only two parachutes, out of the main three, that opened. The vehicle smoothly headed to the ground, landing on a place specifically arranged with massive airbags.
NASA commented on the fail of the parachute and said that it is acceptable for the test standards and crew safety.
Boeing also released a statement saying that there had been a distribution issue, not a parachute failure.
“It’s too early to determine why all three main parachutes did not deploy,” Boeing said.
Once #Starliner’s engines fired, the spacecraft got up to 650 miles per hour (1,046 km per hour) in about five seconds, proving this system can get crew away from a dangerous situation fast. pic.twitter.com/YKlvaMm8Vh
— Boeing Space (@BoeingSpace) November 4, 2019
As he first evaluated the performance, Starliner program manager John Mulholland said that the test team and the vehicle managed to carry out the performance without a flaw.
“Emergency scenario testing is very complex, and today our team validated that the spacecraft will keep our crew safe in the unlikely event of an abort,” Mulholland said.
Boeing is one of the companies that NASA had selected to design and develop a spacecraft that would transport U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station. SpaceX was also among the chosen companies for this project.