Boeing’s spacecraft Starliner was launched on Friday, successfully completing the goal of the programmer’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) by docking to the International Space Station (ISS).
This time-lapse video shows the @BoeingSpace #Starliner crew ship approach the station and dock to the Harmony module at 8:28pm ET on Friday. More… https://t.co/RgllPL4Uiu pic.twitter.com/AYufaYJvAe— International Space Station (@Space_Station) May 22, 2022
1. Test flight
In what has been recorded as a historic first docking at the orbiting lab around the Earth, the OFT-2 is considered a critical test flight to assess whether commercial space taxi is ready to fly astronauts to the ISS for NASA.
Equipped with a fully functional life support system and critical systems to support humans, the spacecraft and mission are designed to give Boeing and NASA enough data to certify the spacecraft for long-duration crewed missions to the ISS.
Starliner has proven safe, autonomous rendezvous and docking capability. We’re honoured to join the fleet of commercial spacecraft capable of conducting transportation services to the space station for NASA.Jim Chilton, senior vice president, Boeing Space and Launch
The spacecraft Starliner was launched with no astronauts on board, atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Its autonomous system, with the support from ground controllers in Houston, guided the vehicle through a meticulous series of manoeuvres until it slowly approached the ISS before docking.
Today’s successful docking of the Starliner is another important step in this rehearsal for sending astronauts into orbit safely and reliably.Ted Colbert, Boeing Defense, Space & Security President and CEO
The astronauts and cosmonauts currently on board of the ISS monitored Starliner throughout the flight and at times commanded the spacecraft to verify control capabilities.
“She’s here! Only a small dot for now, but soon she will knock at our door,” tweeted the astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.