Boeing Starliner's first astronaut crew welcomed aboard space station

Boeing Starliner
# 07 June 2024 08:12 (UTC +04:00)

Boeing's (BA.N), opens new tab new Starliner capsule and an inaugural two-member NASA crew safely docked with the International Space Station on Thursday, meeting a key test in proving the vessel's flight-worthiness and sharpening Boeing's competition with Elon Musk's SpaceX, APA reports citing Xinhua.

The rendezvous was achieved despite an earlier loss of several guidance-control jet thrusters, some of them due to a helium propulsion leak, which NASA and Boeing said should not compromise the mission.

The CST-100 Starliner, with veteran astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Sunita "Suni" Williams aboard, arrived at the orbiting platform after a flight of nearly 27 hours following its launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The reusable, gumdrop-shaped capsule, dubbed "Calypso" by its crew, was lofted into space on Wednesday atop an Atlas V rocket furnished and flown by Boeing-Lockheed Martin's (LMT.N), opens new tab United Launch Alliance joint venture.

It autonomously docked with the ISS while both were orbiting some 250 miles (400 km) over the southern Indian Ocean at 1:34 p.m. EDT (1734 GMT), as the two vehicles soared around the globe in tandem at about 17,500 miles (28,160 km) per hour.
The spacecraft's final approach to the ISS and docking, following a brief interval when Wilmore manually controlled the capsule, was shown on a NASA webcast.

"Nice to be attached to the big city in the sky," Wilmore radioed to mission control in Houston shortly after docking.

On arrival, Wilmore, 58, and Williams, 61, spent about two hours conducting a series of standard procedures, such as checking for airlock leaks and pressurizing the passage between the capsule and the ISS, before opening the entry hatches.

A live NASA video feed showed the smiling new arrivals, wearing their blue flight suits, weightlessly floating headfirst through the padded passageway, one after the other, into the station. Williams was first.

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