Boeing crew capsule launched mile into air on test flight

Marcia Dunn
AP Aerospace Writer

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.

In this image made from a video provided by NASA Boeing tests the launch abort system of the Starliner capsule in White Sands Missile Range in N.M., on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019.

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.

Parachutes guide the Starliner capsule to the ground after a test of Boeing's crew capsule's launch abort system on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019. The capsule carried no astronauts Monday morning, just a test dummy.

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.

The Starliner capsule rests on the ground after a test of the crew capsule's launch abort system in White Sands Missile Range in N.M.