#NASA; #Boeing’sCST100Starliner; #testofitsabortsystem, #Mexico
Washington, Nov 5 (Canadian-Media): A critical safety milestone was completed by Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner in an end-to-end test of its abort system at Launch Complex 32 at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico on Monday, NASA reports said.
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner’s four launch abort engines and several orbital maneuvering and attitude control thrusters ignite in the company’s Pad Abort Test, pushing the spacecraft away from the test stand with a combined 160,000 pounds of thrust, from Launch Complex 32 on White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Credits: NASA
The test was designed to verify the function of each of Starliner’s systems not only separately, but in concert, to ensure the safely of the astronauts in the unlikely event of an emergency prior to liftoff.
As part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, this was Boeing’s first flight test with Starliner to return human spaceflight launches to the International Space Station from American soil.
“Tests like this one are crucial to help us make sure the systems are as safe as possible,” said Kathy Lueders, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program manager. “We are thrilled with the preliminary results, and now we have the job of really digging into the data and analyzing whether everything worked as we expected.”
Kathy Lueders. Image credit: Twitter handle
In about 95 seconds for the demonstration from the moment the simulated abort was initiated until the Starliner crew module touched down on the desert ground.
“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,” said John Mulholland, Vice President and Program Manager, Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program. “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.”
Boeing’s next mission, called Orbital Flight Test, will launch an uncrewed Starliner spacecraft to the station on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41. Launch is targeted for Dec. 17.