Boeing Drop Tests CST-100 Over the Nevada Desert

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Boeing dropped a mockup of its Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft from a helicopter April 3 to test its three landing parachutes.

The drop test, which took place at the Delmar Dry Lake Bed near Alamo, Nev., was the first of several planned to demonstrate the CST-100’s ground landing capability.

After being dropped from an Erickson Sky Crane Helicopter hovering about 3,300 meters above the desert, the capsule’s three main parachutes deployed to slow its descent before six airbags inflated, providing what Boeing described in a press release as a smooth landing.

A second drop test planned for late April will include a drogue parachute deployment sequence on top of the main parachute deployment in order to demonstrate the full normal parachute deployment sequence.

Boeing is developing the CST-100 under a $112.9 million Space Act Agreement it signed with NASA last year. Boeing aims to continue development under one of the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability contracts NASA intends to award this summer.