back to article Two out of three parachutes... is just as planned for Boeing's Starliner this time around

Boeing has put the CST-100 Starliner's parachutes through their paces with a simulation of an abort early in the launch. While the calamity capsule has yet to make its first visit to the International Space Station (ISS), Boeing and NASA have pressed ahead with testing its systems, in this case checking that the parachutes …

  1. redpawn Silver badge

    Most all tests are successful

    if you collect data. The question is if the test subject is successful.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    SpaceXs Dragon capsule can still do a land landing. But NASA are not too happy (and perhaps SpaceX want to fast track?) with propulsive landings. Plus due to this no landing legs are attached.

    I do wonder if it cold land on land with the chutes alone, or with a little help from it's Dracos.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Technically

      IIRC SpaceX safes (and now permanently disables) the fuel pressurization system of the super dracos once it's in orbit, meaning that it can't do propulsive landings anymore. It definitely can't do a propulsive landing after an abort (because it'll have used most of the available fuel for the abort), which is another reason they went with chutes.

    2. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Technically

      "SpaceXs Dragon capsule can still do a land landing."

      Technically any spacecraft can do a land landing. The trick is in being able to walk away from it afterwards.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Technically

        As said, sometimes you come down *hard* on land anyhow. Can't be much worse doing it in a SpaceX capsule... I mean, it has some parachutes, right? ;)

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Technically

      I'm assuming that it can land on land, although it would probably rely a lot on crush structures (crumple zones), if only in an emergency. Similarly, both Soyuz and Starliner are capable of a water landing, although it's non optimal. (So far, only Soyuz 23 has had to do a water landing because it landed in a lake).

      I'd also assume that they've tested land landings, even if that just meant dropping one from a crane, but I can't find anything after a few minutes of searching.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ain't going.

  4. M. Poolman

    Boeing's landing technology also features airbags -

    Outsourced to a company in Bulgaria?

    (well someone had to say it)

    1. Mark Exclamation

      Re: Boeing's landing technology also features airbags -

      Takata might be able to supply some. Oh wait.....

  5. RegGuy1 Silver badge

    Pedant alert

    "This demanding test program ensures Starliner can bring our astronauts home safe."

    Safely, not safe -- it's an adverb modifying the verb bring, not an adjective.

    As to their new craft, let's hope it doesn't have any undocumented features ala the 737 max -- 'no Dave, I don't think it's time to deploy any parachute at the momen...' [splat]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pedant alert

      You mean they are not returning a small cash box from the ISS? ;)

    2. Matthew Taylor

      Re: Pedant alert

      I don't think that correctly pointing out basic grammar to a journalist is pedantry. It's shameful how far we've fallen, that (a) such a correction is necessary, and that (b) the author labels the correction "Pedant", to avoid being derided for making it.

      1. PerlyKing Silver badge

        Re: Pedant alert

        How about pointing out basic reading comprehension to a commentard? The ungrammatical sentence is in double quotes denoting a direct quote from a third party, in this case almost certainly an American so all grammatical bets are off.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Chris G Silver badge

    ", in this case checking that the parachutes would do their thing even in the somewhat dynamic conditions of a launch abort."

    Dropping from a balloon certainly doesn't sound as dynamic as a launch abort but then Boeing seems to prefer simulations.

  7. HildyJ Silver badge

    As long as this isn't the final abort test

    Joking aside, the test seemed to have been successful. It was meant to test a partial parachute deployment and the capsule landed safely [not safe].

    Hopefully they will still be required to conduct a live fire test (with no anomalies).

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: As long as this isn't the final abort test

      A second flight is scheduled for October or November this year using a new 'Spacecraft 2' capsule. Spacecraft 3 which made the first flight has been renamed Calypso after Jacques Cousteau's ship and will make the first manned flight.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternative approach that didn't work out

    Lithospheric braking a la 737

  9. Richard 12 Silver badge

    Have they demonstrated all parachutes yet?

    It doesn't appear that they have ever demonstrated all three parachutes firing yet.

    Two parachutes doesn't behave the same as three. Will they actually open properly if all three deploy?

    I've definitely seen more than one video showing parachutes getting entangled or otherwise failing to open because of being in a cluster.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Have they demonstrated all parachutes yet?

      They have done a 3 out parachute test too. ( Their 3-out chute test looked better than the SpaceX parachutes too, less squidding and mutual interference.

      1. Santa from Exeter

        Re: Have they demonstrated all parachutes yet?

        So it worked when they dropped it from a balloon with an extra pre-drogue chute. When will they actually send in further up than that?

  10. Tessier-Ashpool


    Pah! Use good old retro-rockets for the landing, like the Russkies do. Much cooler.

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