Boeing followed SpaceX in placing a capsule docked on the International Space Station. Last Saturday, for the first time, this spacecraft was able to leave Earth and reach space, completing half the mission. The other half will leave the International Space Station and actually arrive on Earth. The Starliner flight was unmanned, but astronauts on the International Space Station took a guided tour to show us what the spacecraft looked like inside.
The capsule has a diameter of 4.56 meters and is slightly larger than the Apollo and SpaceX Dragon 2 command module, and smaller than the Orion capsule.
International Space Station astronauts display a Boeing capsule
International Space Station astronauts soared into a Boeing Starliner capsule on Saturday, becoming the first to enter the spacecraft, which orbits less than a day after it docked at the orbiting research complex for the first time.
International Space Station residents will spend several days testing and unloading cargo inside the Starliner spacecraft, before departing and returning to Earth on Wednesday.
NASA astronaut Bob Hines became the first person to enter a spacecraft orbiting Starliner after opening the capsule's front hatch at 12:04 p.m. EDT (1604 GMT) on Saturday. Two of his crew, NASA astronaut Gil Lindgren and Russian cosmonaut Denis Matveev, joined him inside the spacecraft a few minutes later.
The crew initially wore masks and goggles to protect against potential floating particles inside the Boeing capsule. Astronauts usually wear protective gear when they first enter a new spacecraft or unit.
After checking that everything was in order, the security materials were removed and they began photographing the interior, so that everyone on earth would know this ship.
NASA astronaut Bob Haynes reviews the interior of the Starliner crew module docked at the International Space Station. https://t.co/aw0ThNxJbJ pic.twitter.com/avxSEZzbAa
SpaceflightNow May 21 2022
Welcome to Starliner, for the first time in space
The Starliner spacecraft docked in port in front of the station's Harmony module at 01:28 a.m. last Saturday (mainland Portugal time). The capsule completed automated docking after retaining its position near the station for longer than planned, giving mission control time to resolve a problem with its docking mechanism.
Heinz, Lindgren, and colleagues Jessica Watkins and Samantha Cristoforetti flew to the International Space Station last month in a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.
Its launch and docking marked the fourth operational flight of the SpaceX crew capsule carrying astronauts to the space station, the seventh global flight for the Dragon crew, including a test flight in 2020 and two fully commercial spaceflight missions.
However, Starliner takes A few years after the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. A 2019 unmanned test flight was aborted due to software issues, and the spacecraft returned to Earth without docking with the space station.
Boeing and NASA have agreed to launch a second unmanned experimental mission - called Orbital Flight Test-2 - but the launch has been delayed since last August due to problems with valves in the spacecraft's propulsion system.
The Boeing had to pay $595 million in accounting fees to pay the costs of the OFT-2 task and associated delays.
The OFT-2 mission finally lifted off Thursday, May 19, from Cape Canaveral, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. NASA and Boeing managers approved the Starliner spacecraft to approach the space station. On Friday, after various technical issues with the thrusters and the capsule's cooling system.
The spacecraft is ready to receive several million contracts from NASA
NASA awarded SpaceX and Boeing multi-million dollar contracts in 2014 to complete the design and development of the Dragon and Starliner vehicles. In all, NASA has signed commercial crew contracts with Boeing valued at more than $5.1 billion and $3.1 billion In contracts covering similar work with SpaceX.
NASA's Commercial Crew Program was created to provide independent access for an American astronaut to the space station after the space shuttle has been towed. For nine years after the last shuttle flight, NASA astronauts have boarded the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to and from the space station.
In 2014, NASA awarded commercial crew contracts, and that's the day they envisioned, we have three human-class vehicles docked at the space station now. So we have a Soyuz moored in the MLM (Multipurpose Laboratory Module), then we have a Dragon right above us and a Starliner right behind us.
Said Haynes said.