Unleashing Curiosity, Igniting Discovery - The Science Fusion

Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft approaching the Worldwide House Station

NASA

Boeing’s Starliner capsule is lastly making its first crewed flight. On 6 Could, it can launch atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida. If the launch goes to plan, Starliner and its two passengers will arrive on the Worldwide House Station (ISS) on 8 Could.

Starliner has been within the works for greater than a decade, however its first check flight didn’t happen till 2019. That flight reached orbit, however software program points prevented it from assembly up with the ISS. A second uncrewed check flight in 2022 was profitable, setting the stage for the primary crewed check.

The 2 check astronauts aboard Starliner are Butch Wilmore and Sunita Williams, every of whom has already been to the ISS twice earlier than. The plan is for them to remain aboard the ISS for every week earlier than returning to Earth.

The objective of this mission is to show that Starliner is a secure choice for transporting crew to and from the ISS, so most of its targets contain testing out the spacecraft and its software program. That is additionally the primary time the Atlas V rocket has been used for a crewed mission. If all goes properly, Starliner might be authorised for operation and start making annual crewed flights.

NASA awarded Boeing the contract to make use of Starliner as a shuttle to the ISS in 2014, similtaneously an identical contract was awarded to SpaceX for its Dragon capsule. Boeing has lagged behind Dragon, which made its first crewed flight in 2020 and is now on its eighth operational mission.

When each are operational, it can give NASA a selection between rides to the ISS, which has not been the case because the retirement of the House Shuttle in 2011. “This may give us that extra functionality, as a result of we all the time search for a backup,” NASA administrator Invoice Nelson mentioned in a 3 Could press briefing. SpaceX has dominated crewed area flight within the US for years, so this can be the start of a broader enjoying discipline.

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