Boeing’s Starliner has successfully reached and docked with the International Space Station, finishing an necessary step for an important take a look at flight that might decide whether or not it is prepared for crewed missions. The unmanned spacecraft launched on prime of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral and traveled for over 25 hours to succeed in the orbiting lab.
Starliner made its first try to succeed in the ISS in December 2019 however failed to attain its purpose resulting from a software problem that prevented the spacecraft’s thrusters from firing. In August final year, Boeing needed to scrap its launch plans resulting from an issue with the spacecraft’s valves, stopping the company from planning one other launch for nearly a year.
While profitable, Orbital Flight Test-2 wasn’t with out its personal issues. As The Washington Post stories, two of its 12 essential thrusters failed shortly after launch, and its temperature management system malfunctioned. The docking course of was additionally delayed by over an hour as the floor workforce ensured that the lighting was perfect and communications have been working as supposed. There was an issue with the spacecraft’s docking mechanism, as nicely, and it needed to retract the system earlier than extending it a second time.
Boeing stated Starliner’s essential thrusters failed resulting from a drop in stress in the thruster chamber, but it surely’s not clear what had precipitated it. Company vp Mark Nappi defined that since the thrusters are on the service module that is discarded throughout the return flight, Boeing may by no means discover out the actual cause for it. Still, NASA and the company plan to look at the different issues that occurred to know them and forestall them from taking place in the future.
Starliner will stay docked with the ISS for the subsequent 5 days earlier than making its return journey, which is able to see it land in the New Mexico desert. If the spacecraft successfully comes again to Earth, then Boeing might be sending astronauts to orbit as early as this fall.
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