On November 4th, Boeing completed a crucial pad abort test of its reusable Starliner spacecraft, successful in the unintentional partial failure of its parachute recovery system in a November 7th press conference.
Meanwhile, SpaceX – having completed Crew Dragon's pad abort test in 2015 – is preparing for an important in-flight abortion (IFA) test and is just a day or two away from static firing
each of Starliner's systems will function separately, but in concert, to protect astronauts by "Although the test was not carried out without flaws, the pad abort test successfully demonstrated the capability of the fo ur launch abort engines and control thrusts to safely extricate astronauts from a failing rocket.
Those theoretical astronauts would have almost certainly survived the failed deployment of one of Starliner's three main parachutes, testing the spacecraft's abilities and redundancy quite a bit more than Boeing intended. To make it bluntly, Boeing's above tweet and PR claim that the failed deployment of 1
Boeing and SpaceX have both suffered failures while testing parachutes, leading NASA to require significantly more testing. However, in a November 7th press conference, Boeing revealed that Starliner's parachute anomaly failed to result in a hardware failure. Boeing says this is a critical mechanical linkage (a pin) which improperly installed by a technician and then notifies prior to launch, causing one of Starliner's three drogue chutes to simply detach from the spacecraft instead of deploying their respective main parachute.
Space is Parachutes are hard
Parachutes are a major area of concern for the Commercial Crew Program. NASA astronauts to Earth. NASA astronauts to Earth. NASA astronauts to Earth. NASA to avoid reoccurrences. Although the Starliner pad abort test did indeed demonstrate the ability to do so.
Boeing believes it will not delay the launch of Starliner's Orbital Flight Test (OFT), currently targeting a launch no earlier than (NET) December 17th. However, wants delay Starliner's crewed launch debut (CFT), at least until it can. Parachute rigging / seams / fabric.
Abort tests galore
Boeing's Starliner pad abort test occurred just days prior to a different major abort test milestone – this time for SpaceX. SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule C205 wants to perform a static fire test of its upgraded SuperDraco abort system, as well as its Draco maneuvering thrusters.
SpaceX has made it to the SuperDraco engines to abruptly rear its head in April 2019 , when a leaky valve and faulty design resulted in a catastrophic explosion milliseconds before a SuperDraco static fire test. Prior to its near-total destruction, Crew Dragon capsule C201 was assigned to SpaceX's In-Flight Abort test and its loss. Crew Dragon's design has been fixed by replacing reusable check valves with single-use burst discs.