NASA's Bill Gerstenmaier explained the previously unpublicized failure in response to questioning from Alabama Representative Mo Brooks. According to the company, the parachute test is part of the overall process to qualify the Starliner's full landing system. SpaceX proactively failed one of the Dragon's four chutes, allowing the other three to operate normally.
The test most likely occurred last month at Delamar Dry Lake in Nevada where SpaceX was conducting drop tests to gather data on the efficacy of its parachute system.
Boeing has shared new video clips of parachute tests related to its Starliner spacecraft, providing the public with a behind-the-scenes look at these various sessions. That could be a polite way to say it's in pieces - we just don't know.
This week, NASA officials told Congress that both spaceships did not pass critical (though difficult) parachute tests in April. Since both companies had similar issues, there may be something wrong with the setup of the test or the way parachutes are being packed. (NASA's Orion pill and Boeing's Starliner automobile glean additionally had struggles with parachute designs and tests). That would be the worst case scenario as it could lead to additional delays as the company validates and implements design changes.
A view of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The thrusters were meant to bring the Crew Dragon away from danger should the SpaceX rocket (either the Falcon 9 or the Starship) encounters a fatal malfunction. The capsule is equipped with eight small thrusters known as SuperDraco engines, which are meant to play an important role in case of glitches during space flights.
During a crucial test, however, the Crew Dragon blew up while SpaceX was firing up engines embedded within the spacecraft. Besides this, the NASA signed with Elon Musk's space agency a $2.6 billion contract to transport astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), and also, the U.S. Air Force voiced its concern over the fact that SpaceX will be having on board national security property, namely satellites. SpaceX was well ahead of the game when it successfully launched an unmanned Crew Dragon and docked at the ISS without problem earlier this year. NASA is running out of Soyuz seats, so hopefully one of these firms can get their vehicle ready for use this year.