CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Boeing's crew capsule is back on land after a brief flight to test its launch abort system.
The Starliner capsule carried no astronauts Monday morning, just a test dummy.
Touchdown! @BoeingSpace completed its Pad Abort Test designed to verify that the #Starliner spacecraft's systems will protect @Commercial_Crew astronauts in the unlikely event of an emergency prior to liftoff. Learn more about today's test: https://t.co/JjjgtGxaZL pic.twitter.com/hyLu96G5e0— NASA (@NASA) November 4, 2019
Boeing plans to launch the Starliner to the International Space Station next month, without a crew. The abort system will provide a fast getaway for the three astronauts if there's an emergency on the Florida pad or in flight.
During Monday's test, Boeing counted down to zero, then the Starliner's launch abort engines fired. The capsule soared nearly a mile (1,300 meters), then parachuted back into the New Mexico desert. The entire flight lasted one-and-a-half minutes.
Only two of the three main parachutes deployed, but NASA said astronauts would have been safe if aboard.
Next up is an orbital test flight.
.@BoeingSpace’s #Starliner spacecraft soared through a critical safety milestone in a major test of its launch abort system this morning. Lots of data analysis ahead, but we are one big step closer to flights with crew! pic.twitter.com/VDWSRt0g34— NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) November 4, 2019