Boeing Says Bad Connection Caused Starliner Parachute Deployment Failure; Flight Test Still on for December

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner’s four launch abort engines and several orbital maneuvering and attitude control thrusters ignite in the company’s Pad Abort Test, pushing the spacecraft away from the test stand with a combined 160,000 pounds of thrust, from Launch Complex 32 on White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Credits: NASA

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., (Boeing PR) – Boeing issued the following statement regarding the successful CST-100 Starliner pad abort test.

The Nov. 4 pad abort test of our CST-100 Starliner was a success. The propulsion and flight and guidance systems each performed to plan, as did the separation of the service module, forward heat shield, and base heat shield. The parachute system also successfully worked to land the capsule safely and without damage. Although one of three parachutes in the parachute system did not deploy, the test validated that two parachutes can adequately handle the full weight of the crew and service module during an abort, highlighting the robust and redundant safety features built into the Starliner vehicle.

Through the close evaluation of closeout photos and parachute inspections, the Commercial Crew team has been able to quickly identify the cause of the non-deployment of one of the three parachutes, which was a lack of a secure connection between pilot and main parachute on the third parachute. We are taking all appropriate steps to address this issue.

At this time, we continue progressing toward our Dec. 17 target orbital flight test launch date. Following a successful mission, we will proceed with a crewed flight test in 2020.

Boeing is committed to providing the same level of safety, excellence and reliability that we have delivered for more than 60 years of space transportation.