Boeing’s Starliner Spacecraft Set To Test Launch: What To Expect
Boeing is just about ready to demonstrate their Starliner spacecraft for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which plans to send astronauts to the International Space Station from American soil, according to Labroots.
While SpaceX has already been able to conduct multiple tests with its Dragon spacecraft, Boeing’s Starliner is expected to be ready for its first un-crewed demonstration for NASA by December 20th.
Boeing plans to demonstrate the spacecraft’s ability to not only reach outer space and return to Earth safely, but also land on solid ground rather than in the ocean with the assistance of special airbags that work in conjunction with its parachutes.
Starliner’s landing mechanisms have implications for its reusability, and Boeing claims that NASA would be able to use a single Starliner spacecraft up to 10 times before having to use a new one.
The spacecraft can house up to seven astronauts or a combination of astronauts and several tons of cargo for resupply missions.
Boeing plans to take advantage of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in order to lift the Starliner into space, and while the Atlas V isn’t as reusable as SpaceX’s Falcon rocket, the spacecraft itself makes it a viable contender for NASA’s program.