The Boeing Co on Monday carried out a safety test of its unmanned CST-100 Starliner crew capsule and with a slight failure of one out of three parachutes to deploy properly, declared the test as successful of the crew ship that was developed to ship astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
The unsuccessful deployment of a parachute occurred while carrying out the test of so-called pad abort system so developed to save the lives of crew members in case of an event of emergency, Boeing spokesman Todd Blecher said by email.
For being so early, it is not the right time to determine the cause of non deployment of all the three of parachutes, but successful deployment of two out of three of them is acceptable as it fulfill the test criterion as well as safety of the crew, Blecher said.
Carried out on Monday morning, overall the test was described as successful, as said Blecher.
U.S. space agency NASA and Boeing said they are still eyeing on Dec. 17 for conducting first unmanned mission of the Starliner to the International Space Station.
Boeing and Elon Musk’s SpaceX were selected by NASA as its major vendors in building launch systems for rockets and capsules to send Americans back to the orbiting research lab for the first time after 2011 roll back of U.S. space shuttle program.
Parachute deployment remained among the top technical challenges that have been facing both of the NASA contractors, which have put the question mark to the safety of crew and put the launch schedules under pressure.
On their way back to the Earth, parachutes serve the purpose of reducing the speed of capsules that are approaching the Earth at supersonic speeds.
In its press release, NASA echoed the Boeing’s statement and also called the test “acceptable”.