Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft is preparing for two major flight tests before the end of the year, which will pave the way for the spacecraft’s first crewed flight in 2020. The capsule is being developed under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to provide transportation services to and from the International Space Station.
NASA provided an official update on Boeing’s flight test dates last Friday. Starliner’s pad abort test is currently scheduled for no earlier than November 2nd, with the Orbital Flight Test (OFT) occurring no earlier than December 17th.
The pad abort test will see a Starliner capsule perform the abort sequence that would be necessary if there were to be a problem with the launch vehicle on the pad.
November’s abort test will occur from a test stand at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
During the flight, Starliner will be tasked with executing a complicated set of maneuvers in short succession.
The flight will begin with the spacecraft’s four primary abort engines firing to pull the vehicle away from the pad. During the ascent, smaller attitude control thrusters will also be used to maintain stability.
After approximately four and a half seconds of burn time, the four abort ...