Boeing tests space taxi, one of three parachutes does not open

An artist's impression of a Boeing CST-100 Starliner crew capsule docking at the International Space Station

Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. An artist's impression of a Boeing CST-100 Starliner crew capsule docking at the International Space Station

On Monday, NASA and Boeing plan to conduct the Pad Abort Test with the CST-100 Starliner, the spacecraft that will eventually carry humans into space.

The deployment failure happened during a so-called pad abort test of a system created to propel the crew to safety in the event of an emergency, Boeing spokesman Todd Blecher said by email.

During Monday's test, Boeing counted down to zero, then the Starliner's launch abort engines fired.

Only two of the Starliner's three parachutes opened, but NASA and Boeing said that performance was acceptable for the test parameters and for crew safety.

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Next up, Boeing aims to send an uncrewed Starliner to the International Space Station for the first time as part of an orbital flight test.

The launch abort system flight takes place during a 3-hour window starting at 9 a.m. EST in New Mexico and will be shown live on NASA TV.

SpaceX is working to fly its Crew Dragon capsule on a first manned test flight into orbit in the first quarter of next year, after completing its unmanned test in March, the company and NASA have said. Since the, the United States has relied on purchasing seats on Russian Soyuz capsules to reach the International Space Station.

Whether SpaceX or Boeing, it will be the first time Americans launch into orbit from the USA since NASA's last space shuttle flight in 2011.

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Next up is the orbital test flight.

The Starliner's demonstration mission involved starting from a standing position created to simulate how it would be set up on top of the ULA Atlas 5 rocket during an actual crewed launch.

"Tests like this one are crucial to help us make sure the systems are as safe as possible", Kathy Lueders, NASA's Commercial Crew Program manager, said in a news release.

Key to this test is ensuring the Starliner spacecraft's systems are able to function in concert with each other in addition to separately. Northrop Grumman's Cygnus capsule arrived at the orbiting lab on today with a fresh delivery, the company's 12th.

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