With only a test dummy aboard, Boeing’s astronaut capsule pulled up and parked at the International Space Station (ISS) for the first time, a huge achievement for the company after years of false starts.
With Starliner’s arrival late on Friday, NASA has finally realised its longtime effort to have crew capsules from competing US companies flying to the space station.
SpaceX already has a running start. Elon Musk’s company pulled off the same test three years ago and has since launched 18 astronauts to the space station, as well as tourists.
“Today marks a great milestone,” NASA astronaut Bob Hines radioed from the orbiting complex. “Starliner is looking beautiful on the front of the station,” he added.
The only other time Boeing’s Starliner flew in space, it never got anywhere near the station, ending up in the wrong orbit.
This time, the overhauled spacecraft made it to the right spot following Thursday’s launch and docked at the station 25 hours later. The automated rendezvous went off without a major hitch, despite the failure of a handful of thrusters.
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