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Boeing space capsule launched for test flight

Boeing space capsule launched for test flight

The test flight aims to show if the capsule is safe to transport astronauts.

The Starliner capsule of the American Aerospace Group Boeing took off for a test flight. Atop an Atlas V rocket, the flight to Cape Canaveral, Florida, began without passengers on Thursday. International Space Station (ISS), as in a live broadcast from the US Space Agency NASA had to see. If all goes according to plan, it will dock with the International Space Station in 24 hours.

On Thursday, a model named Rosie sat in the captain’s seat. It is equipped with about 15 sensors designed to collect information about movements during the flight. The capsule also carries about 230 kilograms of supplies for the International Space Station, which is orbiting Earth at an altitude of about 400 kilometers.

Safe for astronauts?

The test flight aims to show if the capsule is safe to transport astronauts. The first attempt failed in 2019. By that time, disaster had almost occurred and the spacecraft had to return to Earth prematurely without reaching the International Space Station. Another test in 2021 was canceled at the last minute due to technical issues.

Boeing was also by the aerospace company SpaceX from TeslaFounder Elon Musk, whose Dragon capsule regularly carries astronauts into space on behalf of NASA. However, NASA wants to diversify its transportation so that it does not run the risk of relying on Russian Soyuz capsules again. Thursday’s launch is a “critical step” to getting the two providers “regularly moving crews,” said Dana Weigel, NASA ISS deputy program manager.

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The stakes are high for Boeing. The aviation group hopes to be able to carry out the first manned flight by the end of the year. This second demonstration mission is necessary to finally obtain NASA’s approval.

(APA / AFP)