Boeing has successfully completed staticfire tests of the engines developed by her manned spacecraft CST-100 Starliner after almost a year of forced delay caused by an incident that occurred during previous tests. According to the Space News website, the company's official report states that fire tests of all elements of the propulsion system, including fuel tanks and related systems, were conducted on May 23 at the NASA test site in New Mexico in an environment that is as close as possible to real flight conditions.
During a series of tests, conditions were simulatedthe load to which the main Starliner engines will be subjected, the engines of the emergency termination system during maneuvers in space, as well as in the case of a forced interruption of launch at low and high altitudes. The company notes that all tests have been completed successfully, and preparations are underway for further testing.
"The safety of astronauts is always on the firstplace These successful tests prove that our system works correctly and will be able to protect the crew and the Starliner spacecraft itself in all phases of the upcoming flights, ”said John Mulholland, vice-president of the company and head of Boeing’s commercial space program.
Recall that last June the companyconducted similar tests. The engines of the ship worked as expected, but soon after they were turned off, an “anomaly” occurred that led to a fuel leak. As it turned out later, the problem took place in the fuel supply valves - they turned out to be defective and could not close completely. The incident with the engine did not lead to any damage to the equipment or test bench, but forced Boeing to move the ship’s originally planned space launches to a later date.
The delay also allowed the Boeing "rival"SpaceX company first to conduct unmanned tests of its new manned spacecraft Crew Dragon, sending the latter in early March for 6 days to the ISS. However, now both companies are again on an equal footing, because during one of the latest engine tests, the SpaceX spacecraft exploded at the test site. In addition, Crew Dragon has problems with the parachute system.
According to the latest data, Boeing plansconduct a test launch of the CST-100 Starliner in unmanned mode this summer (somewhere in the middle of August). The manned launch of the device with two NASA astronauts, as well as a Boeing test pilot on board, should be held towards the end of this year.
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