Boeing Commercial Crew Pad Abort Test On Hold

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Cape Canaveral – A propellant leak during a June test firing of launch abort engines developed for Boeing’s Commercial Crew CST-100 Starliner is delaying the company’s pad abort test at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico.

“The engines successfully ignited and ran for the full duration. During engine shutdown, an anomaly occurred that resulted in a propellant leak. We have been conducting a thorough investigation with assistance from our NASA and industry partners,” the company said in a statement July 21 in response to media inquiries.

“We are confident we found the cause and are moving forward with corrective action,” Boeing said.

Meanwhile, the first CST-100 Starliner vehicle, which was due to ship out to New Mexico in June for the pad abort test, remains at its manufacturing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The test is intended to demonstrate the vehicle’s ability to fly away from a failing rocket and parachute to safety.

Later this summer, Starliner Spacecraft 2 is due to be transferred to a Boeing facility in El Segundo, California for environmental testing.

Spacecraft 3 is due to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V for an unmanned test run to the International Space Station. Officially, the milestone remains on NASA’s calendar for August, but the flight more likely is six months away.

NASA plans to announce new target flight dates for Boeing and SpaceX unmanned and crewed test flights on Aug. 3. 

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