Boeing is working through a series of ‘drop tests’ for the parachute system on the Starliner spacecraft which makes for some spectacular video!
During the test, the Starliner was lifted about 40,000 feet in the air, the flying altitude of a typical commercial airline flight, by a Near Space Corp. helium balloon and then released over the White Sands Missile Range, next door to Spaceport America.
“Completion of this test campaign will bring Boeing and NASA one step closer to launching astronauts on an American vehicle and bringing them home safely,” said Mark Biesack, spacecraft systems lead for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.- NASA Spaceflight
This test was a little different with the use of a helium balloon instead of a helicopter or aircraft. The Starliner reportedly would not fit properly inside the cargo hold of a C-130 or C-17.
Featured image of Boeing Starliner Spacecraft Parachutes Opening by Boeing/NASA