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Boeing docks crew capsule to International Space Station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Transatlantic Today) — Boeing’s astronaut capsule arrived at the International Space Station for the very first time Friday, carrying just a test dummy, marking a major milestone for the corporation after years of failed attempts. 

According to ABC NEWS, NASA’s long-awaited goal of having crew capsules from rival American companies ascend to the space station has finally been realized with the arrival of Starliner. 

SpaceX has already gotten a head start. Elon Musk’s business completed the same trial 3 years ago and since then has carried 18 astronauts as well as tourists to the International Space Station. 

NASA astronaut Bob Hines radioed from the orbiting complex, “Today marks a great milestone.” 

The only other instance Boeing’s Starliner traveled in space, it never really came close to the station and ended up in an incorrect orbit. 

Following Thursday’s takeoff, the repaired spacecraft arrived at the correct location and docked with the station 25 hours later. Despite the malfunction of a few thrusters, the automated docking went without a hitch. 

If the remainder of the Starliner flight goes smoothly, Boeing might deploy its first team by the conclusion of the year. As the event unfolded roughly 270 miles above Houston, the astronauts who will likely serve on the 1st Starliner crew met Boeing and NASA flight controllers. 

When it concerns the astronaut taxi service in Florida, NASA wants reliability. The long history of Boeing’s Starliner highlights the need of having 2 kinds of crew capsules, according to Administrator Bill Nelson. After the shuttle programme ended, American astronauts were forced to use Russian rockets until SpaceX’s first manned trip in 2020. 

Software issues marred Boeing’s maiden Starliner test launch in 2019, cutting the mission brief and potentially dooming the spacecraft. These were fixed, however when the new spacecraft was ready to launch last summer, the countdown was halted due to corroded valves. Boeing incurred roughly $600 million in do-over charges as a result of the additional repairs. 

Boeing ground control practiced navigating the capsule and checked its autonomous vision system before allowing Starliner to come near the space station on Friday. Apart from a cooling system and 4 failed thrusters, Boeing stated everything looked good. However, the capsule maintained a constant temperature and contained several directional thrusters. 

Boeing flight control in Houston could view the space station from the capsule’s cameras once Starliner was inside 10 miles of it. 

The Starliner was deafeningly silent. The dummy nicknamed Rosie the Rocketeer, a space-age replica of World War II’s Rosie the Riveter, took the commander’s seat once more. 

The shining white capsule with blue trim lingered 33 feet from the station for nearly 2 hours, much longer than expected, as flight controllers repositioned its docking ring and checked everything else. Starliner overcame the distance in 4 minutes after receiving the green signal, rousing celebrations in Boeing’s control center. When the latches were firmly secured, applause erupted. 

Seven astronauts from the International Space Station will unload supplies and equipment from Starliner before loading it with experiments. Unlike SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, which lands off the coast of Florida, Starliner will land in New Mexico coming Wednesday.

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