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Liftoff 111: Escape of the Mole

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Commercial Crew continues to grind forward, while InSight struggles to dig on Mars. Then, some SLS upper stage news, reflections on the Galileo probe and a spoiler-free review of "For All Mankind."
          

Boeing Tests Starliner Abort System

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Boeing completed the first end-to-end test of the CST-100 Starliner crew capsule abort system as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program on Monday. Although the spacecraft experienced a “deployment anomaly” that caused only two of the three...
          

Missing pin blamed for Boeing pad abort parachute anomaly

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Space News: WASHINGTON — Boeing said Nov. 7 that a misplaced pin prevented a parachute from deploying during a pad abort test of its CST-100 Starliner vehicle three days earlier, the only flaw in a key test of that commercial crew vehicle. In a call with reporters, John Mulholland, vice president and program manager for commercial crew at Boeing, said an investigation after the Nov. 4 test at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico led the company to conclude that a “lack of secure connection” between a pilot parachute and the main parachute prevented that main parachute, one of three, from deploying. The pilot parachute is designed to deploy first, and pull out the main parachute. However, Mulholland said that hardware inspections and photographs taken during “closeout” of the vehicle prior to the test showed that a pin that links the pilot and main parachutes was not inserted properly. “It’s very difficult, when you’re connecting that, to verify visually that it’s secured properly,” he said, in part because that portion of the parachute system is enclosed in a “protective sheath” intended to limit abrasion but which also makes it difficult to visually confirm the pin is in place. “In this particular ...


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