The best-laid plans have astronauts returning to Earth on dry land when they hitch a ride on Boeing's CST-100 in the future, but NASA's emergency plans dunked the spacecraft in splashdown tests to ensure waterlogged astronauts would still find their way home.
Top image: Emergency splashdown scenario testing at NASA's Langley Reserach Center on April 9, 2015. Credit: Boeing
NASA's commercial crew program is counting on SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's CST-100 to take over shuttling astronauts to the International Space Station in the not-so-distant future. While we've heard about the Dragon recently, so it's about time for us to check in on the CST-100.
Boeing's space taxi is intended to return to Earth on land, but in an exercise of better-safe-than-sorry, NASA insists that the spacecraft are also capable of keeping astronauts alive through an unintentional water landing. To that end, Boeing subjected its CST-100 to a splash testing in a massive pool at Langley Research Center in Virginia.
This is the second set of splash tests for the spacecraft. CST-100 last went for a swim in 2013:
Investigating the CST-100 after a splash-test. Image credit: Boeing
This spacecraft doubles as a very awkward watercraft. Image credit: Boeing
While testing continues here on the ground in anticipation of first crewed flights in 2017, astronauts are reconfiguring the space station to accommodate their new rides.