Boeing space taxi launches with first human passengers

(Bloomberg) — Boeing Co.’s long-delayed space taxi lifted off Wednesday with its first astronauts bound for the International Space Station, a crucial test for the embattled aerospace titan and its main customer, NASA.

Most read on Bloomberg

The CST-100 Starliner lifted off atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 10:52 a.m. local time.

The theft is in progress. The capsule, carrying veteran NASA astronauts Sunita “Suni” Williams and Barry “Butch” Wilmore, separated from the ULA rocket about 15 minutes into the mission.

Starliner is expected to reach a stable orbit approximately 30 minutes after liftoff. The craft will then perform a series of maneuvers to get on track and reach the space station on Thursday for a stay of about a week.

Wednesday’s test is the culmination of years of delays caused by technical problems and breakdowns of the Starliner craft. These include a botched test flight in 2019 and new concerns over the past month over a still-unresolved helium leak that NASA is monitoring throughout the mission.

NASA is using the flight to prove that Starliner can safely transport people to and from the ISS as part of the U.S. space agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

In 2014, NASA awarded $4.2 billion to Boeing and $2.6 billion to Elon Musk’s SpaceX to create vehicles to carry the agency’s astronauts into space. While Starliner fell seven years behind schedule, SpaceX has launched nine separate crews to the space station for NASA since 2020.

–With help from Julie Johnson.

(Updates with details on mission progress starting in third paragraph.)

Most read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2024 Bloomberg LP

Read Complete News ➤

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

20 + seventeen =