Boeing to test Starliner capsule built for NASA astronauts

Boeing to test Starliner capsule built for NASA astronauts

PanARMENIAN.Net - A spacecraft built by Boeing will launch a milestone test flight Friday, December 20 in what could be the last major step in a long-running mission to once again launch humans from US soil, Al-Masdar News reports.

The capsule, called Starliner, is scheduled to launch into space and dock with the International Space Station over the weekend, mimicking the flight path it will take when it flies its first crewed mission next year. Liftoff is slated for 6:36 am ET.

Aboard the capsule will be a dummy nicknamed Rosie, after Rosie the Riveter, which will be outfitted with dozens of sensors to measure the G-forces astronauts will endure.

Exactly when Starliner will make its historic first flight with people on board is not clear. Boeing (BA) will work closely with NASA to review data from Friday's mission, and both parties must deem the spacecraft ready.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a press conference Thursday that he expects the vehicle to be ready in "the first part" of next year.

Also racing to meet that timeline is SpaceX, the rocket company started by tech billionaire Elon Musk. SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule completed its uncrewed test flight earlier this year, but still must pass another test of the capsule's emergency abort system before it's ready to fly.

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