The Boeing Starliner capsule has arrived at the International Space Station

Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft docked for the first time at the International Space Station on Friday (Saturday morning in Portugal). As it was said, this unmanned mission was an important test for the company, which aspires to compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX. So, this Saturday morning, just over 25 hours after launch, the capsule arrived at the International Space Station (ISS).

Starline will remain attached to the International Space Station for four or five days. Then, as planned, the capsule will return to Earth and land in New Mexico.

Illustration of the Boeing Starliner capsule

Boeing's Starliner has finally arrived at the International Space Station

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft has successfully reached and docked to the International Space Station, completing an important step in a crucial test flight that determines whether it is ready for manned missions. Unmanned spacecraft launched above Atlas V missile from the United Launch Alliance From Cape Canaveral and traveled more than 25 hours to reach the orbiting laboratory.

Starliner made its first attempt to reach the International Space Station in December 2019, but failed to reach its target due to a software issue that prevented the launch of the spacecraft's thrusters. In August last year, Boeing was forced to cancel launch plans due to a problem with the spacecraft's valves, which prevented the company from planning another launch for about a year.

Docking with the International Space Station, which was scheduled for 00:10 (mainland Portugal time, It's over at 1:28. This is because, shortly before 22:50 (Friday), when the spacecraft was within 180 meters of the International Space Station, observers evaluated the observation and performance data of the capsule and believed that it would be in a disadvantageous position. Then it was necessary to carry out a retreat maneuver.

According to Boeing, this maneuver came just in time to demonstrate the capsule's maneuverability control.

At 00:08 this Saturday, Boeing announced that the capsule was within 10 meters of the orbital complex, and that the team would hold a meeting "to make sure both spacecraft are ready for the final approach."

A picture of a Boeing Starliner docked at the International Space Station

The Boeing CST-100 Starliner docks with the International Space Station at 20:28 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 20, 2022, completing an important objective of the Orbital-2 unmanned flight test. (credit: Boeing)

During this approach, the controllers reported a "small problem" with the docking system, which delayed the process even more. According to NASA, it was necessary to remove and reset the Starliner coupling ring to understand the problem.

Starliner also had issues at launch

Boeing's Starliner capsule was launched Thursday night atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Launch Pad-41, a platform at US Power Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The Starliner separated from the rocket's upper stage about 15 minutes after launch. One minute later, the capsule began the orbital insertion process.

during this moment, Two Starliner thrusters didn't release as expected. The first failed after only a second. Your backup ran immediately, but also failed after 25 seconds. This activated a third backup of the booster package, and the capsule was able to complete critical combustion without incident.

As introduced by the company at the time, the Boeing spacecraft is equipped with four sets of thrusters in its aft section, referred to in the industrial designation as "kennels." Each of these groups contains three engines for Orbital Maneuvering and Attitude Control (OMAC), which are used to perform combustion for critical maneuvers such as orbital entry access.

The two OMAC payers that didn't work, and the third that went in for compensation, were the same Starliner in the back kennelAccording to Boeing representatives.

As noted, the Starliner spacecraft will remain attached to the International Space Station for the next five days before making its return flight, which will see it land in the New Mexico desert. If the spacecraft succeeds in returning to Earth, Boeing could send astronauts into orbit as early as this fall.

Leave a Comment