Boeing Relief: The Starliner capsule is on its way to the International Space Station

Status: 05/20/2022 07:46 AM

Boeing’s troubled space program could finally find success: The Starliner capsule has begun an unmanned test flight toward the International Space Station. However, there were problems this time as well.

Torsten Tishman, ARD-Studio Washington

The space shuttle took off for the first time at 6:54 p.m. EDT from the spaceport at Cape Canaveral in the US state of Florida. Since then, the unmanned Starliner has taken 32 minutes to reach safe Earth orbit. It was powered by an Atlas 5 missile, which was successfully separated from the capsule at various stages.

2 defective holes

When the Starliner was put in place, only ten of the twelve correction nozzles worked, NASA’s Mark Stitch said at a press conference after the start. With others, one had to find out if these were the tools, and whether the requests were received. “Now we can do all the maneuvers with the remaining patch jets.”

From Earth’s orbit to the International Space Station

From orbit, Starline will approach the International Space Station (ISS) and dock first — an unexpected maneuver until Saturday night. But first of all, a successful start was a relief to NASA and the manufacturer Boeing – the mission has been marked by failure so far.

In December 2019, a software error occurred meaning that the flight attempt must be aborted before docking with the International Space Station. Another launch had to be stopped last August during the countdown because the fuse did not open. Only the third attempt brought the hoped-for breakthrough.

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“There will be more sleepless nights”

So far the comfort in the team: However, Boeing’s Mark Naby warns against early euphoria. Because the task has four stages. “The first includes the launch and launch preparations. And that went well. Then the orbit and dock. And that’s going to be another exciting day. So there will be a few more sleepless nights.”

The goal is to use the “Starliner” to bring astronauts and cargo to the space station in the future. Although the current mission is unmanned, a test dummy dubbed “Rosie the Rocket” sits on one of the chairs. Food and other goods for the International Space Station crew are also on board.

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