GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

Boeing's passenger spacecraft, the CST-100 Starliner, on 21 May 2022 successfully docked itself to the International Space Station (ISS) for the first time, paving the way for its future flights to potentially bring humans to the orbiting laboratory. This was the Starliners' third attempt, on a mission designed to test the end-to-end capabilities of the crew-capable system as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Programme.

What

  1. The first was in December 2019, which failed due to a series of software glitches. In the second attempt last August, Boeing halted the flight just hours before liftoff, after discovering some propellant valves that weren't working properly.
  2. The Starliner lifted off on NASA's Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on 20 May 2022.
  3. NASA missions aboard Starliner will carry up to four crew members to the station, enabling the continued expansion of the crew and increasing the amount of science and research that can be performed aboard the orbiting laboratory.
  4. OFT-2 will provide valuable data toward NASA certifying Boeing's crew transportation system for regular flights with astronauts to and from the space station.
  5. Starliner is scheduled to depart the space station 25 May 2022 when it will undock and return to Earth, with a desert landing in the western US.
  6. The spacecraft will return with more than 600 pounds of cargo, including Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System reusable tanks that provide breathable air to station crew members. The tanks will be refurbished on Earth and sent back to station on a future flight.

Flashback

  1. The ISS has been in space since 1998, and has been known for the exemplary cooperation between the five participating space agencies that have been running it: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe) and CSA (Canada).