Science 2 min read

Boeing Unveils its Astronaut Carrier - Starliner Spacecraft

The Starliner spacecraft, Boeing's very own astronaut carrier has been sent to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for its initial launch test.

John_Silver | Shutterstock.com

John_Silver | Shutterstock.com

Last week, Boeing sent its new astronaut carrier, the Starliner spacecraft, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It’s the first time that a spaceflight-ready version of the capsule has left the hangar.

Now, Boeing has to merge the capsule with the rocket that’ll take it to space – an Atlas V by United Launch Alliance. The rocket and capsule are expected to take off from the Florida launch site without any crew members on board.

Instead, Boeing plans to send a dummy called Rosie to space.

In a statement to Florida Today, president of Boeing’s Defense, Space & Security division, Leanne Caret explained what the name means.

“Rosie is a symbol of not only the women who are blazing a trail in human spaceflight history, but also of everyone who has shown grit and determination while working tirelessly to ensure the Starliner can transport astronauts safely to and from the International Space Station.”

Boeing intends to dress Rosie in one of the blue pressure suits that the company developed for future astronauts.

Rosie and Starliner Spacecraft

After entering the orbit, the starliner spacecraft in orbit is expected to meet up with the space station. The capsule will automatically dock with one of the available ports on the ISS.

After a brief stay, the starliner will then return to Earth, where it’ll attempt to land at one of five locations in the United States. Boeing equipped the capsule with a combination of parachutes and airbags to ease the spacecraft gently on solid ground.

If successful, the demonstration would pave the way for a real mission. Next year, a team of NASA astronauts could be flying the starliner spacecraft.

Since the Space Shuttle Program ended in 2011, NASA astronauts have had to depend on Russia‘s Soyuz spacecraft to get to the ISS. The expensive partnership costs the agency $85 million per seat.

By developing the Starliner spacecraft for NASA, astronauts will be able to fly on US-made vehicles once again.

Read More: SpaceX’s Prototype Starship Bursts During a Ground Test

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Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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