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Boeing Starliner abortion test: Boeing identifies rig problems with Starliner parachute

A parachute's failure to deploy during a dramatically-tested test of a Boeing CST-100 Starliner capsule's emergency shutdown system on Monday was traced to a pin that was not properly connected to a pilot chute slope before launch, a company chief said on Thursday

A Starliner capsule carrying an instrumented test dummy was launched from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico on Monday to test the emergency stops and software needed to quickly pull a ship away from a catastrophic booster failure. [19659003] The spaceship fired from its test stand and accelerated from zero to more than 500 mph in just five seconds, arching up to a predicted altitude of more than 4,000 feet. As he flipped around and pushed out the front heat shield, a series of small drogue and pilot chutes, which stabilized the boat and pulled out two of the three main display screens.

Despite the heavier load than planned on the two deployed parachutes, the Starliner was content with a relatively mild airbag-assisted landing.

John Mulholland, Boeing's Starliner Program Manager, said parachute rigging procedures are being changed to ensure that no similar problems happen at the end of a non-pilot test flight to the International Space Station next month or pilot flights beginning next year.

"One of the things we did as soon as we identified the root cause was to step out and look at the procedures, identify areas where we could provide robustness," Mulholland told reporters in a telephone conference. "It's a long-term solution to make sure this never happens again."

"More immediate and important for the unscrewed flight test scheduled for next month, we went in and validated that all three of these links were configured correctly."

  110719-abort1.jpg "height =" 355 "width =" 620 "class =" lazyload "data-srcset =" https://cbsnews2.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2019/11/ 07 / 85947b9d-809d-4861-810b-d86736ca059e / thumbnail / 620x355 / c5588cef5a034f80bb39ac9b 110719-abort1.jpg 1x, https://cbsnews2.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2019/11 -4861-810b-d86736ca059e / thumbnail / 1240x710 / c4f6c9e181054a429ac9b1d6ad68a98c / 110719-abort1.jset 2x "sr" : image / svg + xml,% 3Csvg% 20xmlns% 3D & # 39; wtt% 2% 2F2000% 2Fsvg & # 39;% 20viewBox% 3D & # 39; 0% 200% 20620% 20355 & # 39;% 2F% 3E "/ > </span><figcaption class= The Boeing Starliner capsule that falls under two of its three main display screens after a test of its emergency stop interrupt system. [19659010] Boeing

As to why engineers did not catch the problem with the gutters used for the abortion test, Mulholland said "the pilot chute has a Kevlar riser with a loop at the end of it. So a pin would normally be inserted into that loop and secured. The link and the parachute pilot are enclosed in a protective mantle that prevents abrasion. It is very difficult when you connect it to visually verify that it is secure. Taken before the test showed "in this specific case, that pin was not through the loop", Mulholland said As a result, when the pilot rescued to pull out the power grid, one of them was not properly connected.

Mulholland said "tensile tests" and others will be conducted "to make sure we are robust going forward." [19659004] He praised the rigging team and said "even before we saw the hardware (was) on our own initiative to review the close-up and processes, and they identified the potential issue as are validated by hardware inspection. "

" Most importantly, they raised their hands and told them what they thought the problem was, "he said." It's really proof that this team is open. The talking culture we have, that's what we need on this program. "

Boeing and SpaceX both build ferry ships to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station, ending NASA's only reliance on Russian Soyuz spacecraft. prepare for an accidental abortion test with its Crew Dragon capsule next month before launching two astronauts to the station sometime next year.

If Boese's non-piloted flight to the station goes well, the company will continue work to prepare a new capsule for launch with a crew of 3. NASA executives hope to certify one or both companies for operational crew rotation flights by the end of 2020.

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