On Thursday evening, Boeing successfully launched its Starliner spacecraft. At exactly 6:54 p.m. local time, the Starliner departed the Cape Canaveral, Florida launch site. This is an unmanned test flight to the International Space Station. Two previous attempts failed.
If all goes as planned, the spacecraft will dock with the ISS overnight from Friday to Saturday, where it will stay for a few days. Then he returns to Earth. If the overall mission is successful, the Starliner’s first manned flight could follow late this year or early next year.
The Starliner’s first attempt to dock with the ISS was in December 2019, but the launch ended in disappointment. The capsule failed to orbit Earth properly to reach the ISS due to software errors, he later revealed.
A second attempt was slow in coming. Boeing was preparing Starliner for a rematch in August, but the launch was later canceled hours in advance, this time due to technical issues. The capsule was returned to Boeing for repair.
Like Elon Musk’s competitor SpaceX, Boeing has a contract with US space agency NASA to fly crew and supplies to the ISS. SpaceX has completed four of these missions.