Boeing's capsule landing system tested in Nevada
Boeing conducted a successful end-to-end test Wednesday of the landing parachutes for the CST-100 commercial crew spacecraft, the second drop test of the boilerplate capsule in a month.
An Erickson Sky Crane helicopter hoisted the capsule to an altitude of about 14,000 feet and released it, according to a Boeing press release.
Wednesday's drop test included two drogue stabilization parachutes and three main chutes to slow the capsule to a gentle touchdown at Delamar Dry Lake near Alamo, Nev., a former emergency landing site for the X-15 rocket plane. Crewed flights of the CST-100 will initially return to Earth at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
The parachutes all deployed smoothly on a timing sequence, and six airbags inflated before landing to cushion the impact of touchdown, according to Boeing.
A drop test of the same capsule April 3 only used the CST-100's three main parachutes.
"This second parachute drop test validates Boeing's innovative system architecture and deployment plan," said John Mulholland, vice president and program manager of Boeing commercial programs. "Boeing's completion of this milestone reaffirms our commitment to provide safe, reliable and affordable crewed access to space."