On May 20, an Atlas V rocket was launched from the Cape Canaveral cosmodrome. It successfully launched the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft built by Boeing into near-Earth orbit. Currently, it is in autonomous flight mode, experts are checking the operation of its systems. Docking with the ISS is scheduled for May 21. It will be broadcast on the NASA website.
The Starliner will have to deliver about 360 kg of various cargo to the ISS. There is no crew on board the spacecraft. Its role is played by the mannequin Rosie the Rocketeer. The information from the sensors attached to it will allow assessing what overloads the astronauts would have experienced during the flight.
Depending on the progress of the test program and the weather at the landing site, the Starliner will spend from 5 to 10 days in orbit. After undocking from the ISS, the spacecraft will land at the White Sands test site in New Mexico. Together with the mannequin, it will return about 250 kg of cargo to Earth.
The launch of the Starliner was an important milestone for Boeing, which desperately needed success. Recall that during its first orbital test, the Starliner spent too much fuel and could not dock with the ISS. The second test was canceled altogether due to damage to the valves in the propulsion system.
You can learn more about the history of the Starliner spacecraft and its misadventures from the following material.
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