Boeing’s Starliner space capsule has completed the fifth and final parachute qualification test.
The company said Tuesday the qualification test is one of the milestones needed to proceed with the first launch of the vehicle from Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket this summer.
The rocket will send the unmanned capsule to the International Space Station to stay there for a week. The vehicle will carry more than six parachutes from Airborne Systems and ILC Dover-made airbags.
During the four-minute test, the capsule with two disabled parachutes was released from a balloon at a height of approximately 40K feet and safely landed at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico after the other functional parachutes deployed.
“Safety for our astronauts remains our singular focus and this successful landing in a difficult situation affirms the deep commitment of everyone on the team,” said John Mulholland, vice president for the Starliner program at Boeing.
NASA astronauts Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann and Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson could make the first manned Starliner flight mission by the end of the year.