"We have Starliner taking flight for the very first time", a commentator on NASA Live TV said.
The deployment failure happened during a test of a system created to propel the crew to safety in the event of an emergency, Boeing spokesman Todd Blecher said by email.
There's an anthropomorphic test dummy on board, loaded with sensors that will provide Boeing and NASA with all the data they need about what the abort system impact would be on an actual human sitting in that Starliner, were this an actual incident with astronauts involved. The test saw the Starliner crew capsule and a service module launching from a test stand and reaching a height of about a mile over the desert floor before adjusting its attitude and deploying parachutes to begin the soft-landing process.
Boeing is conducting a pad abort test of their CST-100 Starliner spacecraft at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
"It's been a long time since we've launched out of the United States", NASA astronaut Mike Fincke said after the test. Only moments later, Starliner's thrusters fired to adjust its orientation in order to release its parachutes and begin slowing down for landing.
You can watch the whole thing for yourself.
Starliner is now set for an unmanned test flight to the International Space Station on December 17.
Starliner is one of two new spacecraft, along with the SpaceX Crew Dragon, created to take astronauts to orbit as part of NASA's Commercial Crew program.