Boeing’s Starliner aces parachute test


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Capitalism in space: Boeing last week successfully completed a Starliner parachute test designed to simulate the return of a capsule after a launch abort.

This is good news for the capsule and Boeing, but I am a bit puzzled why this test, to be followed by a second similar test, was done. These parachutes were supposedly tested thoroughly already, proven, and ready for use for manned missions. Part of that proof was an earlier launch abort test as well as Boeing’s unmanned orbital demo flight that failed to dock with ISS. Both returned to Earth safely using these parachutes. I wonder if during those latter flights they found issues with the parachutes that needed smoothing out by even more tests.

Either way, this success improves the chances that Starliner will finally fly manned early next year, giving the U.S. two different operational manned capsules for getting humans into space.

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4 comments

  • V-Man

    Either of two:

    1) Flight showed potential issue, needed to test fix;

    or more likely:
    2) Program included payment for X number of parachute tests, so they’re doing them whether they are needed or not.

  • V-Man: Heh. I like your second guess. It fits the style of Boeing and NASA’s old way of doing things.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Possible it is software related?

    If I recall, they had to do a big software review. Perhaps because certain parts of the code were touched/altered, they had to re-run the test?

    This is pure speculation on my part.

  • MDN

    Didn’t one of their test flights end with 1 of the 3 chutes shredded? As I recall they and NASA still called it a success as Starliner can still land safely with just 2 chutes. Regardless I expect that was a severe enough issue they would want to root cause and correct it ASAP, so additional testing would be warranted.

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