Boeing crew capsule launched mile into air on test flight
Cape Canaveral, Fla. – Boeing’s crew capsule is back on land after a brief flight to test its launch abort system.
The Starliner capsule carried no astronauts Monday morning, just a test dummy.
Boeing plans to launch the Starliner to the International Space Station next month, without a crew. The abort system will provide a fast getaway for the three astronauts if there’s an emergency on the Florida pad or in flight.
During Monday’s test, Boeing counted down to zero, then the Starliner’s launch abort engines fired. The capsule soared nearly a mile (1,300 meters), then parachuted back into the New Mexico desert. The entire flight lasted one-and-a-half minutes.
Only two of the three main parachutes deployed, but NASA said astronauts would have been safe if aboard.
Next up is an orbital test flight.