Boeing is getting ready to send astronauts into space with their latest capsule

(Frank Micheaux/NASA via AP)

,- As it is ready to launch astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in cooperation with NASA, Boeing is about to experience a historic moment after many setbacks and difficulties.

This next voyage is the first time Boeing's Starliner capsule has been flown with a crew on board. Two NASA pilots will evaluate the spacecraft in detail during their trip and week-long stay at the space station.

When NASA retired the space shuttles, it looked to American businesses to get personnel to and from the International Space Station. While Boeing has struggled, achieving just two unmanned test flights thus far, Elon Musk's SpaceX has successfully completed nine missions for NASA since 2020.

Though he acknowledged the difficult path to this point, Boeing's program manager, Mark Nappi, was upbeat about the impending astronaut demonstration.

Liftoff for this test flight is set for Monday night. If successful, NASA will be able to alternate between Boeing and SpaceX for crewed trips to the space station.
Terry renna

A closer look at the impending mission and Boeing's most recent spacecraft follows:

The Capsule

Standing around 10 feet tall and 15 feet in diameter, Boeing's Starliner capsule is painted white with accents of blue and black. Though it can hold up to seven people, NASA flights usually include four crew members. Boeing's aviation history is honored in the name "Starliner," which is derived from the Dreamliner and Stratoliner aircraft.

Unmanned Starliner test flights in the past presented serious difficulties including software problems and parachute failures. But Boeing has solved these problems, and the next crewed trip is a big turning point in the spacecraft's evolution.

On its debut crewed flight, NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams—both former Navy captains—will operate the Starliner. With a wealth of space flight expertise, including ISS missions in the past, Wilmore and Williams are sure the spacecraft is prepared for operational flights.

The Test Flight

Starliner will lift off Cape Canaveral Space Force Station atop an Atlas V rocket operated by United Launch Alliances. An indication of the Atlas V's dependability in spaceflight, this mission is its 100th launch. About 26 hours following liftoff, the capsule is supposed to reunite with the space station, where it will stay docked for eight days before descending to Earth.

The crew can use Starliner more adaptably than they could with SpaceX's Dragon capsule since it has touchscreens and conventional manual controls. Starliner will use airbags to land on firm ground after the mission is over, setting it apart from Dragon's ocean splashdown.

The Future

Boeing is committing to six more NASA crewed missions after this first voyage, guaranteeing ISS access until at least 2030. With intentions to provide private clients with a fifth seat on upcoming missions, the organization is still open to prospects for commercial space travel.

As Boeing gets ready to go on this momentous trip, NASA's attempts to commercialize space travel and increase human presence in space will reach a major turning point with the successful completion of the crewed Starliner mission.

(Newsline Paper Teams)
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