Boeing is finally done with the ground testing of the thrusters that it will be using for the CST-100 Starliner commercial crew spaceship. The success comes following a series of failures in its earlier attempts to test the thrusters.
Boeing stated in a published statement that it has finally successfully conducted the hot fire testing of the propulsion system of the spacecraft on May 23. The trial included testing the different thrusters, the fuel tanks, and numerous associated systems within the service module of the aircraft in a flight-like environment. The tests were conducted at the White Sands Test Facility of NASA in New Mexico.
The tests included thruster firing for various in-space maneuvers, high-altitude, and low-altitude mission cancellations, and various other parameters. All the tests conducted were successful.
John Mulholland, the VC and the Program Manager of the project stated that the company puts maximum emphasis on the safety and security of the astronauts. Thus, all these tests will ensure that the Starliner, as well as her crews, will be safe enough throughout the entire flight.
Now that the tests have finally been conducted successfully, the program will move ahead with a pad abort testing, scheduled to be conducted later during the current summer. In addition, an unmanned launch of the spacecraft, quite similar to the Demo-1 flight of the Crew Dragon that was launched in March, is set to be launched by the middle of August this year.
Besides this, another manned test flight, with two astronauts from NASA and a test pilot from Boeing, Chris Ferguson is scheduled to be launched later this year.
Boeing successfully conducted engine tests following an anomaly, which it suffered while testing the launch abort mechanism in June last year. During that test, the valves did not close in a proper way, and this caused leakage in the hypergolic propellant.
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