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Boeing’s Starliner Overview


The launch of the Boeing Starliner, which was set to take astronaut Sunita Williams to space for a third time, has been postponed due to a technical glitch.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Boeing’s Starliner Overview
  2. Mission Objectives
  3. Delays and Significance

Boeing’s Starliner Overview:

  • Design: Starliner, also known as CST-100, is a partially reusable crew capsule comprising two modules: the crew module and the service module. The crew module can be reused up to 10 times, while the service module provides essential functions like electricity, propulsion, and life support.
  • Mission Crew: The spacecraft’s first crewed test flight will carry two NASA astronauts, Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita Williams, to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard an Atlas V rocket from Kennedy Space Center.

Mission Objectives:

  • Performance Test: The primary goal is to assess Starliner’s performance with a crew onboard, including docking with the ISS, manual flying tests, and evaluation of onboard systems and equipment.
  • Crew Activities: Crew members will test seats, life-support systems, navigation systems, cargo movement mechanisms, and new spacesuits during their 10-day stay at the ISS.
  • Return Journey: NASA and Boeing will monitor the spacecraft’s heat shield and parachutes during re-entry, with a ground landing planned using airbags for impact mitigation.

Delays and Significance:

  • Previous Setbacks: Delays stemmed from software and hardware issues during Starliner’s uncrewed test flight, necessitating over 80 fixes before its successful completion. Concerns about safety systems further pushed back the crewed flight.
  • Importance: Success is critical for both NASA and Boeing. NASA seeks multiple providers for ISS missions, reducing reliance on SpaceX. For Boeing, Starliner’s success is essential for competing with SpaceX in commercial spaceflight.

-Source: Indian Express


May 2024