By simulating catastrophic damage, Boeing prepares to fire unmanned aerial vehicles on Starliner's crew capsule Monday morning, triggering high-speed ground-level amplification to over 4,000 feet to prove that a spacecraft can safely ship . for safety in the event of a low altitude emergency.
Mounted on a short platform to assist in the White Sands rocket range in New Mexico, the four powerful Starliner abortion engines, along with 20 smaller maneuverable jets, are to be ignited. at 9 a.m. ET, accelerating the capsule from 0 to 650 mph – straight up – in just five seconds.
Major abortion engines were expected to shut down at the end of these five seconds, followed by maneuvering impulses about five seconds after.
The capsule was then expected to overturn at its high point – 4 426 feet above the launch site – 19 seconds after lifting. After discharging its front heat shield, the drug parachutes had to be deployed, followed by the spacecraft's three major parachutes for about 26 seconds in flight.
Unlike the Apollo moon capsules that completed their ocean spray flights, Starliner was designed to land in land-based facilities in the western United States, throwing out its heat shield and inflating airbags to act on the pillow descend below the main parachutes.
For a test on Monday, landing more than a mile north of the White Sands launch site was expected a minute and a half after the lift. Boeing animation shows details of the abortion test:
Boeing encountered various technical obstacles and failures during the development of Starliner, which puts the program much behind schedule. But the long-awaited padding test marks a milestone in the company's quest to finally prepare the CST-100 Starliner for an unmanned flight to the International Space Station (ISS) in late December.
If this test goes well, Boeing and NASA will direct their measures to a pilot test early next year that will transport three crew members to the space station for a six-month stay.
SpaceX is also building an astronaut ferry known as Crew Dragon, which is also in the final stages of preparation for manned flight to the space station. Unlike Starliner, Crew Dragon is designed to complete its missions with ocean spray.
The crew dragon has already completed a low altitude interruption test and an unstretched flight to the station. An in-flight abortion test is scheduled for early December, setting the scene for a piloted ISS flight sometime next year.
Both companies face numerous technical hurdles and examinations to the operational crew. rotation flights can begin and it is not yet known which spacecraft will launch the first crew into orbit.
However, he plays, NASA managers hope that 2020 will mark the end of the nine-year hiatus in the US space flight, which began when the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011.
Boeing ownscontracts worth $ 4.2 billion to build and launch Starliner, while SpaceX received $ 2.6 billion to develop Crew Dragon. The purpose is to end the only relying on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft agency to ferry astronauts to and from the space station.
The test on Monday was intended to demonstrate Starliner's abortion system would work as needed if the crew ever needed to escape its Atlas 5 amplifier while still on the launch pad or at extremely low altitude.
The capsule is equipped with four powerful starting abortion motors or LAEs, each generating a thrust of 40,000 pounds and 20 orbital maneuvering and position control – OMAC – engines providing 1500 pounds of pressure each.
Starting abortion engines will only be used in actual low to medium altitude interrupts, while OMAC engines are typically used to complete the spacecraft's orbit after separation from its second second Atlas stage. During low altitude abortion, OMAC engines are used to provide additional control of thrust and position.
The Starliner is also equipped with 28 less powerful response control engines for use during high altitude interruptions and in free flight problems, to make small changes to the spacecraft's orbit and to dock with the ISS. Only LAE and OMAC engines were expected to be used in Monday's test.