NewsWorldBoeing's Starliner capsule reaches the ISS for the first...

Boeing’s Starliner capsule reaches the ISS for the first time – 20 Minutes


It’s a good start. Boeing’s capsule, Starliner, docked with the International Space Station for the first time on Friday, a success for the company which must in the future transport astronauts for NASA, even if this empty test flight was years behind SpaceX. Docking with the Space Station (ISS) took place at 8:28 p.m. US East Coast time (0028 GMT Saturday), more than an hour behind the schedule initially planned because of final checks during the maneuvers, meticulously choreographed 400 km above our heads. The astronauts on board the ISS, and the control room in Houston, closely monitored the approach. Starliner first leveled off about 250 yards from the station. Then, after advancing slightly, the capsule retreated to demonstrate that it could retreat if needed. Finally, after a new controlled stop although longer than expected at 10 meters, the delicate final maneuver, carried out while the station is spinning at 28,000 km / h, has been initiated. The vehicle slowly approached until contact. The @BoeingSpace #Starliner crew ship completed its trip to the station when it docked to the Harmony module’s forward port at 8:28pm ET today. More…— International Space Station (@Space_Station) May 21, 2022

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“The Starliner spacecraft successfully completes its historic first docking with the International Space Station, opening a new route to the flying laboratory for crews,” said a commentator on the US space agency’s live broadcast. The capsule hatch won’t be open until Saturday. Boeing is carrying about 230 kg of supplies on behalf of NASA, including food. Starliner rocket boosters must remain docked to the ISS for about five days, before descending back to Earth to land in the desert of the American state of New Mexico, based on White Sands. This unmanned test flight had already been attempted in 2019, but the capsule then encountered several problems and had to turn back without being able to reach the station. has already been transporting astronauts for NASA since 2020, after the successful qualification flights of its own capsule, Dragon. Starliner took off from Florida on Thursday, atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. About 30 minutes after launch, the capsule had managed to place itself on the correct trajectory, but two of its 12 thrusters had failed. NASA and Boeing officials, however, played down the incident, which they said should not affect the mission. . But the problem does not a priori “need to be solved” by then, the previous pushes having nevertheless worked, had estimated Steve Stich of NASA during a press conference Thursday evening. The system “does not pose a risk for the rest of the test flight”, NASA also confirmed on its blog on Friday. repeatedly in recent years. In 2019, the capsule could not be placed in the correct orbit due to a clock problem. Boeing then realized that other software problems had almost caused a serious flight anomaly. Then, in 2021, when the rocket was already on the launch pad to attempt the flight again, a humidity problem had caused a chemical reaction that blocked the opening of certain valves of the capsule. She had to return to the factory for inspection – for ten months. After this vacuum test, a second will have to be carried out for the spacecraft to obtain NASA certification, this time with astronauts on board. The timing will depend on how Starliner performs this week, but Boeing plans to drive it by the end of the year. of the ship. NASA has signed fixed-price contracts with Boeing and SpaceX, worth several billion dollars. The choice to use two companies was intended to encourage competition and never again risk, in the event of a problem for the one or the other, to find themselves without an American “taxi” to the ISS. After the shutdown of space shuttles in 2011, and until 2020, NASA was indeed reduced to paying for places in Russian Soyuz rockets.

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