Miami, US, May 19 (EFE).- The uncrewed Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft lifted off from Florida on Thursday, bound for the International Space Station (ISS), a trip that will determine whether the private firm obtains certification to carry astronauts and cargo into space.
The Starliner capsule took off mounted atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 6.54 pm on Thursday (22:54 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, as part of the Commercial Crew program developed by NASA.
“Next stop: the @Space_Station! #Starliner is on its way to the orbiting lab and is expected to arrive at about 7:10pm ET on Friday, May 20,” NASA tweeted.
During the flight, a camera attached to the capsule showed Earth getting further and further away.
It is, NASA has said, a “demonstration flight that gets it one step closer to certification to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station,” as SpaceX does.
The launch test is about demonstrating the “end-to-end capabilities of the crew-capable system as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program,” it said Thursday.
About 24 hours after launch, the ISS Harmony module will receive the spacecraft, which will dock autonomously and arrive with 800 pounds (more than 360 kilograms) of cargo, of which 500 correspond to cargo and crew supplies.
The capsule will stay for about five days at the orbiting laboratory before embarking on a return trip that will end in the New Mexico desert carrying 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.
Like SpaceX, the firm of billionaire Elon Musk, Boeing has a contract worth more than $4.2 billion with NASA to transport astronauts and equipment to and from the ISS taking off from US soil. EFE