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Boeing's Starliner docks with ISS in key NASA test

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1 個月前

STORY: Boeing’s Starliner capsule arrived safely at the International Space Station, Friday, after a do-over test flight and more than two years of delays and costly engineering setbacks.

About 30 minutes after Thursday’s lift-off from Cape Canaveral, the Starliner had reached its intended preliminary orbit.

It was at that point during its 2019 test flight that a software glitch effectively foiled the spacecraft's ability to reach the space station.

But the capsule's flight to orbit this time around was not without a hitch.

Two of 12 onboard thrusters failed during Starliner's 45-second "orbital insertion" maneuver, according to NASA.

Officials said a backup thruster kicked in and that the malfunction should not prevent the spacecraft from returning safely to Earth.

The uncrewed capsule carried cargo for astronauts, and a research mannequin dressed in a blue flight suit, named ‘Rosie the Rocketeer’.

It’s set to spend four to five days attached to the space station.

Rosie’s job is to collect data on crew cabin conditions during the journey.

A successful mission will move the long-delayed Starliner a major step closer to providing NASA with a second reliable means of ferrying astronauts to and from the space station.

Since resuming crewed flights to orbit from American soil in 2020, NASA has had to rely solely on the Falcon 9 rockets and Crew Dragon capsules from Elon Musk's company SpaceX to fly its astronauts.

Previously, the only other option for reaching the orbital laboratory was by hitching rides aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

NASA's chief told Reuters hours before liftoff, "Having a backup is important to the country."

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