Astronauts Test Boeing’s Emergency Zip Line

NASA astronaut tested the Boeing Emergency Egress System (EES) zip line at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 41.
Two NASA astronauts test the Boeing Emergency Egress System (EES) zip line | Image credit: NASA

In preparation for the first crewed test flights of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner capsule, four of the astronauts selected to crew the spacecraft participated in a test of the Emergency Egress System (EES). The system would be utilised should there be any dangerous circumstances identified on the lead up to a launch of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V.

NASA astronauts a Nicole Mann, Suni Willams, Bob Behnken and Boeing test pilot Chris Ferguson tested the system on June 19, 2018 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 41 in Florida. The ESS zip line transported the astronauts from the Crew Access Tower 52 meters (172 feet) in the air to a point 400 meters (1,300) away from the launch pad at up to 64 kph (40 mph). It is hoped that at that distance, the astronauts would be clear of any danger that they may face in an emergency.

The ESS is based on the commercially available Terra-Nova ZipRide zip line. It has many similarities with the slide-wire system utalised during the Space Shuttle program. However, with the addition of swing-like seats, officials have touted that the new system is noticeably easier to use.

The Boeing ESS zip lineat Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 41.
Astronauts test the Boeing ESS zip line at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 41 | Image credit: NASA/Frank Michaux
NASA astronauts Nicole Mann, Suni Willams, Bob Behnken and Chris Ferguson are put through ESS tests.
Two Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles wait at the base of the ESS to evac the astronauts to safety | Image credit: NASA
Astronauts Chris Ferguson and Suni Williams during Boeing ESS testing.
Boeing test pilot Chris Ferguson and NASA astronaut Suni Williams arrive at the emergency evacuation point | Image credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.