The unmanned Starliner capsule was launched

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Boeing’s new Starliner unmanned space capsule launched on Thursday for a test flight to International Space Station (ISS).

The CST-100 Starliner was launched today just before 02:00 Greek time from the US launch facility at Cape Canaveral in Florida. The capsule was carried by an Atlas V rocket, built by the United Launch Alliance (ULA), a consortium of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

About 30 minutes after its launch, the capsule was in its preliminary orbit, after it had been separated from the rocket that carried it and continued its flight using its own propulsion system, aimed at an ISS approach orbit.

“The Starliner capsule is in orbit orbiting the International Space Station,” said Josh Barrett, a Boeing launch commentator, during a NASA online presentation, as the goal of orbital flight was achieved, which is crucial for the programmer.

This was a stage in the previous Starliner test flight in 2019, in which a software failure was recorded regarding the ability of the capsule to reach the ISS.

It will return to Earth after 4-5 days

If all goes according to plan, the capsule will gradually increase in altitude as it continues on to the International Space Station, with an estimated arrival time of about 24 hours, before being attached to the ISS on Friday night. travels at an altitude of about 400 kilometers above the Earth.

The space capsule is expected to remain attached to the ISS for four or five days before its return journey to Earth begins. It is expected to parachute into the White Sands Desert in New Mexico.

The success of this mission will be a big step for the Starliner space capsule as well NASA will acquire a second reliable spacecraft to transport astronauts to and from the ISS.

Since the resumption of space launches in 2020, nine years after the end of the space shuttle program, NASA has deposited the transport of its astronauts on the Falcon 9 rocket and its SpaceX space capsules. Elon Musk.

Previously, the only available option for the ISS approach was through launches of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

“The availability of a second system is important for the country,” NASA Commander Bill Nelson told Reuters hours before the launch.

The launch comes at a crucial time for Chicago-based Boeing, which is battling a series of crises in both aircraft manufacturing and space and defense.

For the Starliner program alone, Boeing was forced to pay $ 595 million ($ 562.57 million) in compensation after failing to launch the first unmanned space flight in 2019.

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Source: News Beast

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