Boeing lands Starliner capsule, completing a crucial test flight
Boeing’s Starliner Spacecraft seen just before it docks with the International Space Station (ISS) on May 20, 2022, during the uncrewed OFT-2 mission.
Starliner landed at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range, after earlier in the day leaving the International Space Station – concluding the six-day Orbital Flight Test 2, or OFT-2 mission.
This mission successfully reached the ISS and docked with success, one of its most critical test goals. OFT-2 represents a crucial milestone in Boeing’s Starliner design. However, there have been numerous obstacles. delays over the past three years.
Boeing is currently developing the Starliner spacecraft in NASA’s Commercial Crew program. The capsule has received nearly $5Billion worth of contracts. It competes against the other participants in this program. Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which completed development of its Crew Dragon spacecraft and is now on its fourth operational human spaceflight for NASA.
SpaceX and Boeing were once considered equals in their race to send astronauts into space. Boeing has been hampered by delays in Starliner’s construction, which have impacted both its schedule and financial position. Boeing has already spent $595million due to additional costs incurred by the capsule because of the NASA contract’s fixed price.
Boeing expects that the Crew Flight Test (or CFT) will be Boeing’s next Starliner mission. This test involves the flight of the first astronauts aboard the capsule. However, the company is examining whether to redesignThe Aerojet RocketdyneStarliner had custom-made propulsion systems that failed to function during its first attempt at launching the OFT-2 spacecraft in August 2021.