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News18 » Tech
2-min read

Boeing Starliner is a Crucial Test for Future Space Missions: Watch Launch Here

The Boeing Starliner, along with the SpaceX Dragon, have been seeded by NASA to undertake future manned missions in the coming years.

Shouvik Das | News18.com@distantvicinity

Updated:December 20, 2019, 4:16 PM IST
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Boeing Starliner is a Crucial Test for Future Space Missions: Watch Launch Here
The Boeing Starliner, along with the SpaceX Dragon, have been seeded by NASA to undertake future manned missions in the coming years.

Boeing faces the ultimate litmus test as the Boeing Starliner crew capsule stands by atop NASA's Atlas V rocket, waiting for take-off at roughly 5PM IST (6:36AM ET) today, December 20. The Boeing Starliner is one of the two privately developed space capsules that have been shortlisted by NASA to undertake future manned missions to low Earth orbit, with the first of such missions set to take off as early as mid-2020. With the launch standing by at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, USA, you can tune in to the launch live through the video below:

The Boeing Starliner is a result of NASA's revised strategy to outsource building crew modules to commercial companies, in order to streamline the amount of manpower and financial resources required to build the same. The Starliner will lift off towards the International Space Station (ISS) with a 270kg payload that includes food supplies for the astronaut crew aboard the ISS at the moment, along with an anthropomorphic test device (ATD), nicknamed Rosie. In simpler terms, Rosie is a dummy humanoid replica with sensors placed on her to record the forces and stress that would be felt by humans during the difficult phases of the mission, such as lift-off and landing.

Boeing Starliner detailsImage credit: Boeing/BBC

Launching today, the Starliner is expected to spend a week in space before making its way back home. The shuttle is scheduled to land at New Mexico on December 28, where onboard parachutes and airbags are expected to help it make a soft landing back on earth. Upon successful completion of the mission, Starliner is expected to join the SpaceX Dragon shuttle as part of NASA's crew vehicles to undertake manned missions to space. This will mark the first time since the retirement of NASA's own shuttles in 2011, that American astronauts would be able to launch from their own soil. Over the past few years, NASA has been teaming up with the Russian space agency (Roscosmos) to hitch rides aboard the Soyuz shuttles.

Unlike the SpaceX Dragon, which uses its own Falcon 9 rocket to launch, the Boeing Starliner is using the iconic Atlas rockets for lift-off. The shuttle has space for up to seven passengers at a time, and is said to cost NASA approximately $90 million per seat. This is more expensive in comparison to SpaceX, which will reportedly cost NASA about $55 million per astronaut. With 80 percent chance of good weather clearance also received, the Starliner's lift-off is being eagerly followed across the world, as the mission can practically usher NASA into a new generation of manned space missions, and in turn, create a historic milestone for future missions to the moon and Mars to follow.

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