Boeing closes in on further Starliner tests

Louis Dillon

Boeing has aimed to conduct a pad abort test for the CST-100 Starline commercial crew vehicle within the next month, a company executive has confirmed.

This test will see the vehicle use its abort thrusters to launch off the ground to simulate the ability to move off a malfunctioning booster on the launching pad, and will fly about 1.5 kilometres high before landing around two minutes after lift-off.

This test is being aimed for 5 November.

John Mulholland, vice president and program manager for commercial programs for Boeing’s space exploration business arm, also confirmed during the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) that the company were also targeting a mid-December unscrewed orbital flight test (OFT).

The launch is being aimed for 18 December (Australian time), and will see the Starliner vehicle take off from Cape Canaveral to dock with the International Space Station (ISS).

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The vehicle will remain at the ISS for close to a week before undocking and landing back on Earth in the US.

That landing is most likely being touted as being at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

The mission was delayed by more than six months due to a conflicting schedule.

The vehicle itself is closing in on the completion of its assembly, with a few major components yet to be added, but that could happen by as soon as next week.

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