Last night Sweden time, it was time for NASA and Boeing to test again the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, a spacecraft that will be used in the future for transportation to and from the International Space Station (ISS).
Although there was an engine problem, the Starliner launch is described as successful and the spacecraft has now entered Earth orbit. Later tonight, the idea is that the Starliner will dock with the International Space Station and tomorrow night, they are scheduled to begin unloading materials that NASA and Boeing sent to the International Space Station into the unmanned spacecraft.
The idea is that the CST-100 Starliner together with the SpaceX Crew Dragon will take care of transporting astronauts and materials to the International Space Station. Since 2020, SpaceX has already sent astronauts with Crew Dragon to the International Space Station several times. However, Boeing’s Starliner has had some accidents, and thus has been forced to undergo further testing. If NASA and Boeing consider themselves satisfied with the testing that is now being done, then in the relatively near future Starliner can begin to use it for regular transfers to the International Space Station.
Originally, Boeing and NASA had plans to start sending astronauts with Starliner to the International Space Station as early as 2017, which means they are now 5-6 years behind the original schedule. NASA previously said that at the end of the summer, it will hire the crew that will fly the Starliner for the first time when it takes off.
Below you can check out what it looked like when the Starliner was launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force using an Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance. Also below is an illustration of what it might look like when the Starliner docks with the International Space Station sometime tonight.
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