Above image source: Boeing.
The Boeing spacecraft is called the CST-100 Starliner and is being developed with the help of NASA, that is, its commercial crew program. The capsule is built for seven people, a Its purpose is to carry out missions in low Earth orbit, as well as commercial flights to space stations.
It looks like Boeing may soon join SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic as they have achieved their goal after years of trial and error. Could Elon Musk have reason to worry?
The first Starliner ship to dock on the International Space Station
The Starliner completed its first historic Boeing berth at the International Space Station (ISS) on May 20, 2022. The American airline has proven that its capsule will be able to transport people outside the Earth’s atmosphere in the future.
Below you can watch the moment of the independent connection of the ship to the International Space Station:
Capsule structure and functions
The CST-100 has a diameter of 4.56 m and a length of 5.03 m, which means that it is slightly larger than the Dragon 2 from SpaceX, moreover It has an innovative weldless structure.
Boeing CST-100 Starliner. Source: Wikipedia.
The creators boast that this is the first capsule in the United States Thanks to the built-in airbags and parachutes, it can land on the groundNot in the water, as competing ships do. Notably, the effect of this technology is the ability to use the Starliner ten times, which would take six months to return to Earth.
Boeing stresses the importance of the autonomous docking function that It will drastically reduce the time needed to train a team to go into space. In addition, the equipment will include amenities for the crew in the form of wireless Internet and special tablets.
OFT-2 orbital test
In 2019, Starliner underwent its first unmanned orbital flight test to the International Space Station. Unfortunately, due to a problem with the mission’s time clock, the ship entered the wrong orbit, making it impossible to reach the International Space Station. The mission was cut to two days and the capsule successfully landed in White Sands Spaceport.
On June 6, 2020, Boeing announced that it would repeat testing to demonstrate that the Starliner is capable of meeting all of NASA’s requirements. The hard work of the engineers was not in vain and after nearly two years It brought the expected result in the form of a successful docking on the International Space Station.
Now it remains to cross your fingers for a safe return of the capsule to the ground, which will be kept in three or four days.
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