Boeing has launched a parachute system of its crew capsule at Spaceport America‘s purpose-built commercial spaceport in New Mexico to verify the inflation characteristics and landing system performance of the platform during touchdown.
Spaceport America said Friday the CST-100 Starliner Parachute System Test Launch utilized a giant helium-filled balloon that carried a flight-sized boilerplate spacecraft 40,000 feet above the San Andres Mountains and landed on the other side.
CST-100 is designed to carry crew and cargo to low-Earth orbit destinations such as the International Space Station as part of NASA‘s Commercial Crew Program.
John Mulholland, vice president and program manager of Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program operations, said the team will review data from the first test and prepare for follow-up tests in an effort to qualify the company’s parachutes for spaceflight.
“It’s been a privilege to support this important endeavor in returning human spaceflight launch capabilities to NASA and the United States,” said Space America CEO Daniel Hicks.
The Federal Aviation Administration-licensed launch complex Spaceport America has hosted 38 vertical launches and 8 horizontal missions from various commercial space industry clients that include SpaceX, EXOS, UP Aerospace and Virgin Galactic.