While all the attention usually goes towards the tense “We have liftoff” moment, returning back down from space is no small feat, either. And NASA has released a video showing some of the effort that has gone towards testing landing capsules during their commercial buddy-up with Boeing
Last week, teams of researchers tested the Boeing Crew Space Transportation (CST) "Starliner" capsule at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. This high-tech tin can is designed to send up to seven passengers, or a mix of crew and cargo, to the International Space Station and other low-Earth orbit destinations. The pod features a weldless design and, like all good homes, comes with wireless Internet.
But, of course, the capsule has got to come back down. The capsule is designed to be grounded on dry land, however in the eventuality of an ad-libbed sea landing, they always need to test out its water wings. The crash test involved seeing how the capsule’s six landing airbags coped with arriving in a 6 meter (20 foot) deep Hydro Impact Basin. By all appearances, it looks like a success. See for yourself in the video below.