The Boeing CST-100 Starliner landed on the International Space Station for the first time on Friday night.
The spacecraft established its first connection to the Harmony module of the International Space Station (ISS) at 20:28 EDT.
Boeing said – in addition to ground controllers in Houston – astronauts on the space station monitored the Starliner throughout the year and sometimes commanded the spacecraft to check surveillance capabilities.
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Despite the failure of some pushers, the automated meeting went smoothly.
The starliner fired a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Station in Florida at 6:54 p.m., Eastern Time on Thursday.
The Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) is the second unmanned test flight of a commercial spacecraft.
The mission was designed to provide Boeing and NASA with enough data to certify a spacecraft for long-term manned missions to the ISS.
“Starliner spent its first hours in space by conducting a series of systematic demonstrations that allowed mission leaders to check that the spacecraft was healthy and able to maneuver safely. After plugging in, Starliner recharged its batteries with solar arrays located at service module, “they said at Boeing.
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While docked, the station crew will sail in the Starliner, conduct an initial cabin tour and periodically conduct system inspections, while ground controllers assess data collected during his flight.
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According to NASA, the opening of the Starliner hatch is expected to begin on Saturday at 11:45 a.m. EDT.
The Starliner will leave more than 600 kilograms of cargo from the space station on Wednesday, May 25th.
This cargo will include reusable tanks for filling with nitrogen and oxygen, which provide air for breathing to the crew members of the station. The tanks will be refurbished and sent back to the ISS next year.
After certification, Our Starliner missions will carry as many as four crew members.
“OFT-2 will provide valuable data for NASA, which will certify Boeing’s crew transport system for scheduled flights with astronauts to and from the space station,” the agency wrote.
“Starliner has proven to be a secure, autonomous meeting and landing capability,” Jim Chilton, senior vice president of Boeing Space and Launch, said in a statement. “We are honored to have joined the fleet of commercial spacecraft that can carry services to the NASA space station.”
Both Boeing in SpaceX received a NASA contract in 2014 to build spacecraft that could take crews to an orbital laboratory, but SpaceX was the only company to take astronauts so far.
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The only second time Starliner was in space ended up in the wrong orbit.
The company’s first test flight in 2019 was interrupted due to software flaws, and corroded valves prevented the capsule from lifting last summer.
Brie Stimson of Fox Business and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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