Home Sciences Boeing’s space capsule docks seamlessly with the ISS

Boeing’s space capsule docks seamlessly with the ISS

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The capsule starliner of the American company Boeing was successfully docked this Friday for the first time to the International Space Station (ISS), about 24 hours after taking off from a launch pad in Cape Canaveral (Florida). The CST-100 Starliner spacecraft fitted into the ISS’s Harmony module without incident at 8:28 p.m. eastern US time (00:28 GMT), after a series of autonomous maneuvers that were supervised by members of the Expedition 67 aboard the station.

According to NASA’s schedule, shortly before noon on Saturday (16:00 GMT) the hatch of the Starliner, which has reached the ISS, will be opened. uncrewed and with about 500 pounds (230 kilos) of supplies and equipment from NASA, and 300 pounds (136 kg) of material from Boeing. Rosie, the Rocketeer, also travels inside, an anthropomorphically shaped test device equipped with 15 sensors that will collect data on what future astronauts feel during the flight and that will also be connected to the seats of the ship.

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Boeing’s Starliner capsule, about 5 meters high and with capacity for a crew of up to seven people, left Thursday for the orbiting laboratory after being launched on the top of an Atlas V rocket from the Cabo San Lucas Space Force Station. Canaveral, in Florida. The success of this crucial unmanned mission, called OFT-2 (Orbital Flight Test 2), is aimed demonstrate “the end-to-end capabilities” of the Starliner spacecraftfrom its launch until its return to Earth, and thus achieve NASA certification that allows it to transport astronauts to and from the ISS, as the private firm SpaceX already does.

The capsule will spend five days in the orbiting laboratory before embarking on a return trip that will end in the New Mexico desert, where it will land with 600 pounds (270 kg) of cargo, including three reusable oxygen and nitrogen refill system tanks. that provide breathable air to station crew members.

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Prior to this mission, Boeing made a first attempt in 2019 with the Starliner, which after takeoff managed to be put into orbit but failed in its final mission of reaching the space station. After that failed mission, Boeing and NASA agreed to work on OFT-2, which was to take off in August 2021, but had to be postponed following the discovery of a valve problem in the ship’s propulsion system. “Through adversity, our teams have continued to innovate for the benefit of our nation and all of humanity,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said yesterday after the launch, expressing his enthusiasm that this spacecraft will eventually join the “enable missions with astronauts on board”.

Subject to certification, Boeing has a contract of more than 4,200 million dollars to carry out another six missions to the ISS, with the first manned mission (CFT) planned for the end of the year, at a date yet to be determined.

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