On Monday, Boeing will perform a follow-up test of the Starliner spacecraft system in New Mexico. And thanks to NASA Chief Jim Bridenstein, he will be shown live.
At my request, Bridenstein tweets the test will be broadcast live on NASA. "Taxpayer Transparency." NASA is paying $ 4.2 billion to Boeing to develop Starliner and up to six operational missions to transport astronauts to the International Space Station.
And it is true – Boeing obviously planned to record the test, but the company has not decided whether to broadcast it live. "The live stream of the Starliner Pad Abort Test is something we have been considering and planning and are fully prepared to support at our client's request," Reeba Regan told Boeing at Ars.
Boeing plans to conduct the test during a three-hour window that opens at 9:00 ET (14:00 UTC) on Monday in the White Sands rocket range in New Mexico. During this test, the four main interrupt engines at the base of the Starliner Service Module will ignite and burn out in a matter of seconds, pushing the spacecraft out of the launch pad. The smaller orbital maneuvers and response controls will then fire and eventually re-orient the spacecraft to the first position of the tail.
During the test, the spacecraft will reach a height of just under 1.5 km. Then the spacecraft's parachute system will deploy and the service module will be ejected before the Starliner lands back on the nearby desert floor. With the test, Boeing aims to show NASA that its spacecraft is capable of escaping its Atlas V during an emergency and safely return crew to Earth. The entire test should take less than 90 seconds.
Boeing originally planned to conduct a swab break test in the summer of 2018. However, during a hot Starliner motor abortion test, four out of eight the valves remained "glued" and not closed when needed. This led to the leakage of hydrazine, which led to a significant failure for the company until it investigated the problem and implemented a solution.
Now the company has a busy period. Following Monday's test, Boeing will focus on the final preparation of Starliner's first orbital flight test. This undeveloped mission is scheduled for December 17th. This test is contingent on Starliner's ejection of United Launch Alliance integration facilities in Cape Canaveral in mid-November to put Starliner on the Atlas V. rocket.