Boeing’s Starliner undergoing drop tests


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Capitalism in space: Boeing’s Starliner manned capsule yesterday successfully completed the 11th of 14 drop tests in preparation for launch.

The article includes extensive comments by two NASA astronauts who are working with Boeing on these drop tests. I found this quote interesting:

[Sunita] Williams and [Eric] Boe said there are benefits and drawbacks to either type of landing, but they preferred land over water. Williams speaks from experience: She has already made a land landing aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule. “When you land on land, maybe it’s a little bit harder,” Williams said. “But when you’re coming down at high speed, the water’s hard, too.

“Landing on water, if somebody’s right there to rescue you and they know exactly where you’re coming down, that works. And we’ve shown that works with the Apollo program. But, landing on water — I’m a Navy guy, there’s a big ocean out there and it’s a little space capsule and there’s some definite risks to that, too.

“Landing on the Soyuz, you open the hatch, you smell the grass, you’re not in a huge rush to get out or stay in. You know you’re in a solid place and you know you can take your time getting out and the rescue forces will be there eventually, if they’re not there knocking on the door.”

The article also noted that Boeing plans to refurbish each capsule and reuse it up to ten times.

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