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ISS Welcomes Starliner: A New Chapter in U.S. Space Exploration

Daniel Kim Views  

Yonhap News

Boeing’s space capsule, the CST-100 Starliner, has successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on its first crewed test flight.

According to media reports, the Starliner, carrying NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and Sunita Williams, arrived safely at the ISS at 1:34 PM on the 6th.

The docking was originally scheduled for 12:15 PM, but it was delayed by over an hour due to issues with some jet engines.

The Starliner was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 10:52 AM the previous day aboard an Atlas V launch system and began its flight after entering orbit.

The Starliner’s launch is a success achieved on its third attempt, following two previous last-minute cancellations. The crewed test flight took place about two years after a successful unmanned flight in May 2022.

The two astronauts who successfully docked with the ISS will stay there for about a week, unloading the cargo they brought and practicing procedures to be used by astronauts who will stay in space for the next six months.

This flight is considered an important step in testing whether the Starliner can send astronauts to space and return them to Earth in line with NASA’s project.

The Starliner is designed to protect its crew during atmospheric reentry, and this test flight is intended to verify its performance.

NASA plans to analyze the flight data to determine whether the Starliner can be regularly used for personnel transportation between the ISS and Earth.

SpaceX has been sending NASA astronauts to space using the Crew Dragon since 2020.

If the Starliner receives NASA’s approval, the United States will have its sixth manned spacecraft, following the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo of the 1960s and 70s, the Space Shuttle from 1981 to 2011, and the Crew Dragon since 2020.

In 2014, NASA decided to entrust low-Earth orbit manned transportation to private companies and signed manned capsule development contracts worth $4.2 billion and $2.6 billion with Boeing and SpaceX, respectively.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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