What is Boeing Starliner?


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An Atlas V rocket is set to lift off with a team of two veteran astronauts sitting inside a crew capsule called Starliner, built by Boeing, on the capsule’s third test flight and the first with astronauts on board.

About Boeing Starliner

  • Starliner is a spacecraft that transports astronauts into space after being launched there by a rocket. 
  • It consists of a crew capsule and a service module.
  • The crew capsule houses the astronauts; like others of its kind, it will be able to survive reentry and return to the ground
  • The service module consists of the equipment and systems the astronauts need to survive in space, including air and temperature control, water supply, sanitation, etc., plus the engines and fuel required to manoeuvre the spacecraft. 
  • The service module won’t be reusable.
  • Starliner is more than 4 meters wide and can house up to seven astronauts.
  • The Starliner has an innovative, weldless structure and is reusable up to 10 times with a six-month turnaround time.
  • It also features wireless internet and tablet technology for crew interfaces.
  • It can be fit atop an Atlas V rocket, operated by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
  • What is Starliner’s purpose?
    • On September 16, 2014, NASA announced it had awarded contracts to SpaceX and Boeing to fly astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
    • Since being awarded the NASA contracts, SpaceX has flown 13 missions to the ISS onboard its Dragon crew capsule (which can also house seven astronauts).
    • After NASA shut its Space Shuttle programme in 2011 and before SpaceX’s Dragon capsule got ready in 2020, only Russia’s Soyuz rocket and capsule could ferry astronauts to and from the ISS.
    • If the Starliner mission succeeds, the U.S. will, for the first time in its history, have two spacecraft to launch astronauts to space.
    • SpaceX and Boeing will take turns launching astronauts to the ISS—each crew’s expedition lasts up to six months—until the ISS is decommissioned next decade.

Q1: What is the International Space Station (ISS)?

The International Space Station is a large spacecraft in orbit around Earth. It serves as a home where crews of astronauts and cosmonauts live. The space station is also a unique science laboratory. It is a unique international collaboration among five space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA. The International Space Station is made up of many different modules, each of which has a specific purpose.

Source: Significance of Boeing Starliner’s first crewed test flight on May 7 | Explained