Boeing’s Starliner overcomes last-second problems to dock with the ISS

Boeing’s Starliner aircraft successfully docked with the ISS, but some last-minute problems did not occur. The company’s first crewed test flight to the space station closed After 13:34 ET missing its first shot due to the failure of several thrusters. Astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita “Suni” Williams plan to spend the next eight days on the ISS before returning to Earth.

The capsule docked with the ISS in an orbit about 260 miles over the Indian Ocean. The pair now orbits the planet at 17,500 mph.

“It’s great to be connected to the big city in the sky,” Wilmore told mission control in Houston after the successful docking. The capsule carries 760 pounds of cargo, including about 300 pounds of food and other supplies required by four U.S. astronauts and three Russian cosmonauts.

A view of the approaching Boeing Starliner capsule from the ISS.  Cloudy Earth is visible behind him.A view of the approaching Boeing Starliner capsule from the ISS.  Cloudy Earth is visible behind him.


Touchdown, originally scheduled for 12:15 ET, was delayed after five of the Starliner’s 28 reaction control wheels failed. A few were lost due to helium leaks. NASA and Boeing concluded that the losses did not compromise the mission, and Wilmore and Williams restarted three of them, providing enough spares to proceed.

On Wednesday, a small helium leak was detected during takeoff and takeoff. Later, two more leaks emerged.

Problems are symbolic Boeing is struggling to certify its capsules for regular flights. A variety of problems and delays plagued the Starliner, including orbital flight tests, valve problems, software glitches, and the parachute system. Boeing’s rival SpaceX reached the ISS for the first time In 2020, around when this Starliner mission was originally scheduled to launch.

Boeing is seeking NASA certification to join SpaceX in making regular trips to the ISS. The government agency wanted several private sector shuttles to make regular visits to the space station. Despite Boeing’s challenges, it may eventually get there.

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