Monday, 27 January, 2020


Boeing Starliner Placed Atop United Launch Alliance Rocket for First Flight

Boeing CST-100 Starliner launches site ahead of Maiden Voyage Boeing pays tribute to WWII's Rosie the Riveter by using her as its Starliner dummy
Kristine Garrett | 23 November, 2019, 16:40

The CST-100 is one of two vehicles funded by NASA under the Commercial Crew Program, the other being the SpaceX Dragon II capsule.

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner space taxi was moved to its Florida launch complex and set atop its United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket today in preparation for next month's uncrewed test mission to the International Space Station.

Starliner was mated to the rocket's upper stage in ULA's Vertical Integration Facility after being transported this morning from Boeing's assembly building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Both companies want to get things right for the sake of future NASA contracts, and for the bragging rights that come with being the first to send astronauts in orbit on a US -made spaceship since the retirement of NASA's space shuttle fleet in 2011. NASA astronaut Mike Fincke says that he looks forward to when we are launching people regularly.

The Commercial Crew Program is a more than $6 billion project aimed at ending NASA's reliance on the Russian space agency for rides to the station after the shuttle program ended in 2011.

Five years ago, Boeing and SpaceX emerged as the big winners, racking up contracts now worth $4.3 billion and $2.5 billion, respectively, to fly six missions apiece to and from the space station.

NASA's Office of Inspector General stated that rides on Boeing's Starliner would be pretty much expensive. The first Starliner crew will include a woman, NASA´s Nicole Mann. However, the above OIG report states that both Boeing and SpaceX would launch manned crew shortly before summer 2020. Starliner and its Atlas V will move to the launchpad on December 15. "Each member of the Boeing team has a personal stake in the safety, quality and integrity of what we offer our customers, and since Day One, the Starliner team has approached this program with a commitment to design, develop and launch a vehicle that we and NASA can be proud of". Unlike SpaceX, Boeing does not make its own rockets. "It's time to deliver", wrote Jim Bridenstine, NASA's big chief via Twitter.

Rosie the Astronaut is named after World War II´s Rosie the Riveter. SpaceX called his dummy "Ripley" after the character in the alien films, but Boeing goes to Rosie the Riveter with "Rosie".

"Sitting in the Starliner commander's seat, she'll be equipped with hundreds of sensors that will return critical data to the Starliner team ahead of the first crewed flight".

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