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Tugger
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Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:51 am

The Boeing Starliner CST-100 had its launch pad abort test this weekend and I can't figure out if it was a success or a failure. The launch looked good but only two of three on the parachutes deployed. They say this is "acceptable" and the system is designed to succeed with just two deployed but I can't believe anyone is pleased really. What do you think?

Interestingly I also found out that Boeing will not be doing an inflight test of the system.

We'll see where it goes from here, I wish them only success!

The 16.5-foot-tall (5-meter) capsule propelled itself off its test stand at 7:15 a.m. MST (9:15 a.m. EST; 1415 GMT) Monday. The Starliner used the same launch pad originally built for a pad abort test of NASA’s Orion crew capsule in 2010.

Other than the parachute deployment failure, everything appeared to work as designed on Monday’s pad abort test.

“It’s designed to operate with two chutes, and operate well,” said Chris Ferguson, a Boeing test pilot and astronaut who will fly on the Starliner’s first crewed space mission next year. “Everything landed well, all the airbags functioned properly. I was just super-jazzed that we got to where we were.”

https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/11/04/b ... pad-abort/

Image

Image

(On a total sidenote, I will say, their camera work sucks! They are all over the place and don't keep things in center and focused very well. :old: )

Tugg
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Ozair
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:56 am

Tugger wrote:
The Boeing Starliner CST-100 had its launch pad abort test this weekend and I can't figure out if it was a success or a failure. The launch looked good but only two of three on the parachutes deployed. They say this is "acceptable" and the system is designed to succeed with just two deployed but I can't believe anyone is pleased really. What do you think?

Hearing things like this always makes me think of the Steve Buscemi quote from the movie Armageddon,

You know we're sitting on four million pounds of fuel, one nuclear weapon and a thing that has 270,000 moving parts built by the lowest bidder. Makes you feel good, doesn't it?

If I was flying it I’d love to think they had tried their best to make all three parachutes work every time…
 
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Nomadd
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:38 am

The only thing that would affect the success of the abort part would be if the stresses from the extreme acceleration of the abort caused the chute malfunction. Otherwise, the chutes are an entirely separate problem.
 
angad84
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:00 am

Tugger wrote:
The Boeing Starliner CST-100 had its launch pad abort test this weekend and I can't figure out if it was a success or a failure. The launch looked good but only two of three on the parachutes deployed. They say this is "acceptable" and the system is designed to succeed with just two deployed but I can't believe anyone is pleased really. What do you think?

I think lessons in spaceflight seem to be too easily forgotten. Feynman's Appendix F to the Rogers Commission Report explains (as only he could!) why — a system that is designed for 3 chutes, but can safely let down on two is not designed for two chutes, it is designed for three. Two chutes is a failure, albeit with a happy ending.

Full text of the report — and really, this is required reading for anyone with even a cursory interest in aeronautics — can be found here: https://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/mi ... ndix-F.txt
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:11 am

angad84 wrote:
Full text of the report — and really, this is required reading for anyone with even a cursory interest in aeronautics — can be found here: https://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/mi ... ndix-F.txt


"Why bother? Our astronauts survived every damn time..."
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
aumaverick
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:42 pm

flyingturtle wrote:
angad84 wrote:
Full text of the report — and really, this is required reading for anyone with even a cursory interest in aeronautics — can be found here: https://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/mi ... ndix-F.txt


"Why bother? Our astronauts survived every damn time..."


Not sure if quote was sarcastic or if you forgot Apollo 1....

Image
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nycbjr
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:07 pm

I'm in agreement here, however I'm sure they will investigate the failure and see if they can resolve, no?
 
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Tugger
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:26 pm

nycbjr wrote:
I'm in agreement here, however I'm sure they will investigate the failure and see if they can resolve, no?

Absolutely. If one chute didn't deploy, it is possible that TWO or THREE chutes could also not deploy.

And that would not be good.

But the more I read on this, the crux of the test was to test the abort launch part of the system and not the rest of the system (which is useless parsing as a successful launch followed by an unsuccessful landing is silly to even argue). The point being made that "it still made it down safely" is more spin than anything else. Sure "the system worked" and returned the capsule safely to the ground, but they now need to resolve the chute deployment issue.

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. - W. Shatner
Productivity isn’t about getting more things done, rather it’s about getting the right things done, while doing less. - M. Oshin
 
DarkKnight5
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:56 pm

I imagine with the system designed to operate with three, with a backup plan of two being ok, NASA will not looking happily at this test. It will cause a delay, no doubt. SpaceX was supposedly trying to get to 10 consecutive flawless tests of the parachute system to progress on to the next phase, so I’m guessing NASA will impose the same regime on Boeing, and as of today their ticker sits at zero.
 
aumaverick
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:01 pm

Did anyone else catch the mention of the excessive smoke from the toxic propellant on landing?

https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/starliner-flies-for-the-first-time-but-one-of-its-parachutes-failed-to-deploy/

"One other notable event during Monday's test was the large amount of orange smoke from dinitrogen tetroxide propellant that emanated from Starliner's Service Module as it came down to the ground. Some of this drifted across the area where the capsule came to rest, potentially fouling the recovery site. It was not immediately clear whether this presented a real issue."
I'm just here so I won't get fined. - Marshawn Lynch
 
DarkKnight5
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:40 pm

aumaverick wrote:
Did anyone else catch the mention of the excessive smoke from the toxic propellant on landing?

https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/starliner-flies-for-the-first-time-but-one-of-its-parachutes-failed-to-deploy/

"One other notable event during Monday's test was the large amount of orange smoke from dinitrogen tetroxide propellant that emanated from Starliner's Service Module as it came down to the ground. Some of this drifted across the area where the capsule came to rest, potentially fouling the recovery site. It was not immediately clear whether this presented a real issue."


When I turned on the live stream late, the camera was focused on the plume of toxic smoke, and I was afraid they had suffered an explosive anomaly like spacex. I believe nasaspaceflight.com noted the fire was expected as the separated service module was going to impact the ground at high speed no matter what. Apparently when this happens in the ocean the fire may not be a problem, but I’m skeptical of that.
 
aumaverick
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:11 pm

DarkKnight5 wrote:
aumaverick wrote:
Did anyone else catch the mention of the excessive smoke from the toxic propellant on landing?

https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/starliner-flies-for-the-first-time-but-one-of-its-parachutes-failed-to-deploy/

"One other notable event during Monday's test was the large amount of orange smoke from dinitrogen tetroxide propellant that emanated from Starliner's Service Module as it came down to the ground. Some of this drifted across the area where the capsule came to rest, potentially fouling the recovery site. It was not immediately clear whether this presented a real issue."


When I turned on the live stream late, the camera was focused on the plume of toxic smoke, and I was afraid they had suffered an explosive anomaly like spacex. I believe nasaspaceflight.com noted the fire was expected as the separated service module was going to impact the ground at high speed no matter what. Apparently when this happens in the ocean the fire may not be a problem, but I’m skeptical of that.


Fire is a concern, and so is the toxic smoke which I assume could potentially enter the cabin of the crew module. This occurred accidentally with the Apollo-Soyuz mission.
I'm just here so I won't get fined. - Marshawn Lynch
 
WKTaylor
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:09 pm

My 2cents...

The long-duration dinitrogen tetroxide propellant 'plume' from the crashed service module was very unnerving. Assuming this was not a wholesale pad abort... and that booster failure occurred later-in-flight, at higher altitude over water, this should not be a problem/issue...

Oddly.. there was a significant delay between 'zero/launch' announcement and actual thrust build-up to launch. Is this delay a phenomena of the 'internal thrust-build-up' sequencing [including valves opening, etc]... or was this an unintended delay?

Also... the 3rd parachute did not even appear to deploy from, the spacecraft.. which likely means that the ballistic deployment 'shot' was to blame... which... to me... is a LOT scarier than an ejected chute that failed to open or 'didn't catch air' [due to aerodynamic blanking]... or otherwise collapsed or was even structurally failed...
 
DarkKnight5
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:48 pm

WKTaylor wrote:
My 2cents...

The long-duration dinitrogen tetroxide propellant 'plume' from the crashed service module was very unnerving. Assuming this was not a wholesale pad abort... and that booster failure occurred later-in-flight, at higher altitude over water, this should not be a problem/issue...

Oddly.. there was a significant delay between 'zero/launch' announcement and actual thrust build-up to launch. Is this delay a phenomena of the 'internal thrust-build-up' sequencing [including valves opening, etc]... or was this an unintended delay?

Also... the 3rd parachute did not even appear to deploy from, the spacecraft.. which likely means that the ballistic deployment 'shot' was to blame... which... to me... is a LOT scarier than an ejected chute that failed to open or 'didn't catch air' [due to aerodynamic blanking]... or otherwise collapsed or was even structurally failed...

Folks seem reasonably certain all three drogue chutes deployed, which frankly doesn’t give us much information other than the “catch air” should not have been an issue. That’s why they have drogues.

I also noticed the delay between the audio countdown and the liftoff. Maybe it’s an issue, maybe it’s just an artifact of the webcast, or maybe it was expected. Haven’t seen any chatter to indicate it’s a problem. It certainly gives you enough time to sense it and feel like something has gone wrong and start formulating the “oh-no” in your head then bang.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:30 am

aumaverick wrote:
flyingturtle wrote:
angad84 wrote:
Full text of the report — and really, this is required reading for anyone with even a cursory interest in aeronautics — can be found here: https://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/mi ... ndix-F.txt


"Why bother? Our astronauts survived every damn time..."


Not sure if quote was sarcastic or if you forgot Apollo 1....

AWESOME PICTURE OF FRY HERE


I was just being sarcastic. "Well, they've survived..." was NASA's mindset, because NASA knew about the foam pieces falling off the main tank, or the O-rings becoming brittle at sub-zero temperatures. But NASA never investigated their possible safety implications.
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
zanl188
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:16 am

Appeared to me that there might be a relationship between propellant jettison and chute failure. Has this been eliminated has a cause?

If I’m not mistaken chute failure on Apollo 15 was related to propellant jettison.
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WKTaylor
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:50 pm

RE Apollo 15 parachute failure... mishap report: https://sma.nasa.gov/SignificantInciden ... ailure.pdf
 
iamlucky13
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:18 am

DarkKnight5 wrote:
and as of today their ticker sits at zero.


They've done multiple tests of the parachutes. Here's a couple:

2012: https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commer ... ptest.html
2017: https://www.boeing.com/features/2017/03 ... 03-17.page

The deployment failure will be investigated and addressed.
 
jupiter2
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:40 am

iamlucky13 wrote:
DarkKnight5 wrote:
and as of today their ticker sits at zero.


They've done multiple tests of the parachutes. Here's a couple:

2012: https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commer ... ptest.html
2017: https://www.boeing.com/features/2017/03 ... 03-17.page

The deployment failure will be investigated and addressed.


Successful tests don't fit the current narrative, as such they are ignored as not having happened.
 
zanl188
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:12 am

https://youtu.be/L9ifJzokFgA

New video from Boeing.

Speculation on my part: propellant smoke seen here is intentional jettisoning of propellant.
Legal considerations provided by: Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe
 
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Francoflier
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:58 pm

zanl188 wrote:
https://youtu.be/L9ifJzokFgA

New video from Boeing.

Speculation on my part: propellant smoke seen here is intentional jettisoning of propellant.


At around 00:29, we can clearly see one of the three drogue chute flying straight off pulling some sort of larger object which I assume was supposed to stay on the capsule... Is that the bag in which the main chute was stored?

Interesting.
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
nycbjr
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:05 pm

Francoflier wrote:
zanl188 wrote:
https://youtu.be/L9ifJzokFgA

New video from Boeing.

Speculation on my part: propellant smoke seen here is intentional jettisoning of propellant.


At around 00:29, we can clearly see one of the three drogue chute flying straight off pulling some sort of larger object which I assume was supposed to stay on the capsule... Is that the bag in which the main chute was stored?

Interesting.


sure looks like it!
 
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Tugger
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:55 pm

So apparently the parachute failure was caused by a pin that was not properly inserted/aligned and is not easily viewed on inspection.
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 case that pin wasn’t through the loop, but it wasn’t discovered in initial visual inspections because of that protective sheath.”

Mulholland said Boeing is modifying assembly procedures through what he called “fairly easy steps,” such as pull tests, to ensure those pins are properly installed.

https://spacenews.com/missing-pin-blame ... e-anomaly/

Great news for the program that it was so quickly found and is (apparently) easily addressed! :thumbsup:

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. - W. Shatner
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Nomadd
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:14 am

Tugger wrote:
So apparently the parachute failure was caused by a pin that was not properly inserted/aligned and is not easily viewed on inspection.
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 case that pin wasn’t through the loop, but it wasn’t discovered in initial visual inspections because of that protective sheath.”

Mulholland said Boeing is modifying assembly procedures through what he called “fairly easy steps,” such as pull tests, to ensure those pins are properly installed.

https://spacenews.com/missing-pin-blame ... e-anomaly/

Great news for the program that it was so quickly found and is (apparently) easily addressed! :thumbsup:

Tugg

The main problem is never the ease of the fix. It's figuring out how they could make such a mistake in the first place. Reviewing the cause and fix of the chute problem won't be a hundredth as complicated as reviewing the attitudes and procedures that led to something so simple, that probably got signed off by three people, to occur in the first place.
Installing a critical pin like that without knowing the pin was through the thing it was meant to function with was not an understandable mistake. The fact that they couldn't verify the result because they couldn't see it is a pretty sad excuse.
 
zanl188
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:16 am

Francoflier wrote:

At around 00:29, we can clearly see one of the three drogue chute flying straight off pulling some sort of larger object which I assume was supposed to stay on the capsule... Is that the bag in which the main chute was stored?

Interesting.


I believe that’s the apex cover coming off to allow chute deployment.
Legal considerations provided by: Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe
 
GST
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:03 pm

Blimey, I had a friend die in the crash of a small aircraft precisely because of a pin that was not properly inserted and impossible to visually inspect. Reading the same basic thing coming up in the failure of a safety system (albeit in a test) of an aircraft designed almost 50 years later has hit me where I live somewhat.

The experience has very much directed my subsequent practice as an engineer, if a pin or fastener is safety or function critical, I'll move heaven and earth in the design to make its correct assembly verifiable (and if possible actively obvious if incorrect). It is sobering to think that we are still making designs with these flaws and weaknesses, given all the experience of the past that we have to hand. We stand on the shoulders of giants, but it would be nice if we took a little climb down a little more regularly to view the foundations.
 
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Aesma
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:31 pm

As a skydiver I'm pretty familiar with parachutes, they're not rocket science (pun intended) but then again the ones I use do fail, and we carry a reserve one for that reason.

Keep in mind Soyuz 1 ended up in disaster with a dead Cosmonaut because of a parachute not deploying.

Maybe instead of 3 chutes with 2 being enough, they should go for 5 with 3 being enough ?
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
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Nomadd
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:54 pm

Aesma wrote:
As a skydiver I'm pretty familiar with parachutes, they're not rocket science (pun intended) but then again the ones I use do fail, and we carry a reserve one for that reason.

Keep in mind Soyuz 1 ended up in disaster with a dead Cosmonaut because of a parachute not deploying.

Maybe instead of 3 chutes with 2 being enough, they should go for 5 with 3 being enough ?

Would you really want 5 chutes trying to deploy at once?
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:06 pm

Nomadd wrote:
Would you really want 5 chutes trying to deploy at once?


In KSP, I sometimes stagger them (e.g. deployment of one at 1000 and the rest at 100 meters).
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
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Aesma
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:09 am

Then another solution would be to do just like with the ones people use, a single parachute, that can be cut away if there is a problem, with a reserve one to take its place.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
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smithbs
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Re: Boeing Starliner CST-100 Abort Test

Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:38 pm

Is it too late to suggest a Rogallo wing? :stirthepot:

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