Starliner Performs Well in Airbag Testing

NASA Admisistrator Charles Bolden recieves a briefing about the CLARREO System Dave Johnson, Bruce Wielicki and Yolanda Sheain in building 1202 at Langley Research Center. 02/09/2016

The Boeing CST-100 Starliner airbag system, which will provide a safe landing for the spacecraft during any phase of flight, was put to the test over the 20-foot-deep Hydro Impact Basin at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, on Feb. 9. The Starliner is one of two commercial spacecraft in development to launch astronauts from the U.S. to the International Space Station via NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Six landing airbags, designed and manufactured by ILC Dover in Frederica, Delaware, were inflated before the full-size Starliner test article was hoisted up by a crane and then dropped from a height and angle that mimicked what the spacecraft might encounter as it pushes off an Atlas V rocket during a launch or ascent emergency. The goal for Boeing’s landing and recovery team is to achieve flight qualification status of the Starliner’s airbag and up-righting systems through a series of tests at Langley’s Hydro Impact Basin.

While the Starliner is designed for land-based returns, it is important for engineers to understand how the spacecraft and its systems would perform in all landing scenarios.

Engineer Applies Skydiving Know-how to Spacecraft Evaluations


One of the engineers NASA depends on to assess the landing systems of the next generation of human-rated spacecraft brings 14 years of experience working with parachutes on launch systems, as well as years of skydiving. Learn how Jeff Thon is uniquely helping shape the future of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program at

Astronauts Practice Crew Dragon Egress

AnneMcclain-crewdragonAstronaut Anne McClain takes part in egress training for the Crew Dragon at SpaceX’s Hawthorne, California, headquarters recently as part of a larger team of astronauts and engineers evaluating processes for the new generation of American spacecraft in development to carry astronauts to the International Space Station. Working inside a mock-up built by SpaceX to simulate the actual spacecraft, the team practices leaving the spacecraft through the top hatch of the Crew Dragon as well as using the side hatch. The work is common in assessing spacecraft design. For astronauts, such rehearsals are regular exercise in mission preparations even in spacecraft that have been flying regularly.

Starliner Testing: White Sands, New Mexico


Boeing’s Chris Ferguson highlighted the area at White Sands, New Mexico, where the company will perform a pad abort test of its CST-100 Starliner in 2017. White Sands has been the site of numerous systems tests for a wide variety of spacecraft systems for years. The Starliner is designed with four large engines in its service module that can fire quickly to lift the spacecraft and astronauts aboard out of danger, whether that be away from the launch pad or during ascent into orbit.

Descarga Tus Materiales del Programa de Tripulacion en Espanol!


Hemos publicado tarjetas de coleccionista de Tripulacion Comercial, marcadores y hojas para colorear en español , así que consiga el suyo hoy! Todos son informativos, divertidos, fáciles de descargar, leer, colorear y compartir! Puede descargarlos usando estos enlaces o en

We’ve posted Commercial Crew collector cards, bookmarks and coloring sheets in Spanish, so get yours today! All are informative, fun, easy to download, read, color and share! You can download them from these links or at

CapCom Y Centro De Control De Mision
Mantenimiento De La Estacion Espacial Internacional
Investigaciones En El Espacio
Marcador – Socios Comerciales
Marcador – Boeing
Marcador – SpaceX
Tarjeta de Coleccionista – Socios Comerciales
Tarjeta de Coleccionista – Blue Origin
Tarjeta de Coleccionista – Boeing
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Tarjeta de Coleccionista – SpaceX


Administrator Bolden Sees Starliner Before Testing

Administrator Charles Bolden with Boeing CST-100Administrator Charles Bolden with Boeing CST-100

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden took a close look today at the airbag system for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, before a contingency water landing test with a full-size spacecraft mock-up.

Although it’s designed to land on land, Boeing is testing the Starliner at Langley’s Hydro Impact Basin to evaluate its tendencies in case it has to land in the water in the event of, for example, an unlikely launch or ascent emergency that calls for the spacecraft to separate from its rocket and parachute itself and the astronauts inside to safety. Starliner is being developed in partnership with NASA to carry up to four astronauts at a time to the International Space Station. An additional crew member will allow science time on the orbiting laboratory to double for NASA’s Journey to Mars and research that will benefit everyone on Earth.

Bolden visited Langley to deliver his annual “State of NASA” address during which he detailed aspects of the agency’s budget request.


SpaceX Tests Transporter Erector

SpaceX-transerectorA critical piece of large equipment is being tested at Launch Complex 39A this week as SpaceX raises and lowers the transporter erector that will be used to move the Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket to the launch pad for missions. Standing 212 feet high – more than 20 stories – the TE, as SpaceX calls the machine, will move launch-ready rockets and spacecraft from the processing hangar at the base of the pad up to the pad surface and into a vertical position over the flame trench.

The lift and lowering of the transporter erector are part of routine tests conducted on the pad to ensure all ground systems are prepared to launch astronauts to the International Space Station. The TE is a much larger and stronger version of the erector the company uses at Space Launch Complex 40, as it will also be used for processing and launching future Falcon Heavy rockets. Photo credit: SpaceX