The Starliner capsule by Boeing has productively touched down at the White Sands Missile Range of the US Army even though it did not used all of its parachutes. The firm had to turn off two of its more than half a dozen parachutes, so it can get pass the most difficult and final qualification test it required to go through to be capable of flying astronomers to the ISS. One of the factors why the Government Accountability Office hopes further postponements to the Commercial Crew project is due to the fact that Boeing still requires to perform some parachute trials. This latest success can mean first flight of Starliner can actually take place sometime this summer, similar to what the firm is expecting.
To be capable of simulate a real flight having failure in parachute, the Starliner test vehicle was dropped at the White Sands Missile Range from a height of 40,000 Feet from a balloon. It took 4 Minutes for the capsule to land, where upcoming missions will also touchdown. Boeing had to make sure that the vehicle can land even with a few parachutes missing for the safety of astronauts, particularly since Starliner was developed to land on solid ground rather than in the water.
As per an earlier report, Boeing is expecting to use its first unmanned test flight on September 17, 2019, to the ISS for a 7-day stay. If all goes as per the plan, the Starliner can transport astronauts by the end of the year to the space.
On a related note, when NASA rewarded SpaceX and Boeing deals to design aircrafts that can transport astronauts to the ISS, it was expecting that they will be done by 2017. Unluckily, both the firms struggled with technical hurdles that forced them to postpone their timelines.
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