Boeing Starliner Test Flight Readied For Tonight

Boeing could finally test its Starliner astronaut capsule, when the unmanned capsule is launched tonight to the International Space Station.

This will be a vital event for the CST-100 Starliner, and will allow Boeing to demonstrate to NASA and other officials that it can safely fly humans into space.

In 2019 software failures scuppered CST-100 Starliner capsule debut attempt to dock at the space station.

Test flight

And then in August 2021 Boeing attempted a launch, but this was cancelled due to a problem with jammed valves in the spacecraft’s propulsion system.

In October 2021 Boeing confirmed the fix for the jammed valves would take longer than expected, and rolled back the uncrewed test flight until mid-2022.

Fast forward seven months, and the test flight is expected to take place tonight from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, Reuters reported.

Boeing will be desperate to ensure the test flight goes well, and help it compete with SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, which has already carried astronauts to the International Space Station on multiple occasions.

“We wouldn’t be here right now if we weren’t confident that this would be a successful mission,” Butch Wilmore, a NASA astronaut likely to fly on Starliner’s first crewed flight sometime in the future, was quoted by Reuters as saying on Wednesday. “We’re ready. This spacecraft is ready.”

“The teams have been working really hard to get ready for this,” added Kathy Lueders, NASA’s space operations chief, underlining that the Starliner flight is a test mission.

“We learned a lot from the first uncrewed demo (in 2019). We’re gonna learn a lot from the second one,” said Lueders.

Space taxi

The CST-100 Starliner capsule is designed to carry seven people, and is meant to be launched on top of an Atlas V rocket.

It is designed essentially to be a space taxi, and should automatically dock with the International Space Station for at least four days, and eventually land back on Earth via parachutes.

Once it is declared operational, the CST-100 Starliner capsule will mostly carrier NASA astronauts to and from the space station.

This is important now, as using Russian launch facilities is now out of the question with its illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Boeing has been developing Starliner since 2014 when NASA selected the company, along with SpaceX, to develop space capsules that could carry astronauts to and from the space station.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

Recent Posts

US Approves SpaceX Starlink For Planes, Trains And … Ships

US FCC regulator gives its official approval for SpaceX to use its Starlink satellite internet…

2 days ago

Bitcoin Falls Below $19,000, But Recovers Slightly Friday

Ominous sign for crypto markets? The value of Bitcoin dropped over 6 percent to below…

2 days ago

Meta Slashes Hiring As It Braces For Downturn – Report

CEO Mark Zuckerberg tells staff to brace for a deep economic downturn, as Meta cuts…

2 days ago

Silicon In Focus Podcast: Connected Business

Is the definition of a ‘connected business’ very different today than it was just two…

2 days ago

BT Disappointed As CWU Votes To Strike, Despite 5 To 8 Percent Pay Rise

First strike in 35 years after BT staff with the e Communications Workers Union vote…

3 days ago