Boeing confirmed on the 12th that its “Starliner” manned spacecraft is scheduled for the first test flight on December 20, the destination is the International Space Station. The “Starliner” test flight was not manned, and the only “passenger” was a dummy named Rosie.
Boeing and NASA related persons in an interview with the U.S. media on the 12th, said that will be on December 20 test flight “Starliner”, there are only a few technical details need to be perfected. Phil McAllister, director of NASA’s Commercial Flight Research and Development Program, said it would be a “Christmas gift” received in advance.
The Starliner was developed by Boeing and NASA’s Commercial Manned Program project team. It can carry up to 7 passengers or passenger and cargo mixed, complete with near-Earth orbit missions. The aircraft is designed in a seamless structure and can be reused up to 10 times. It also comes with a wi-fi and a tablet that can interact with passengers.
On November 4 this year, the Starliner completed a launch pad escape test, but one of the craft’s three parachutes failed to open as scheduled. If the unmanned test flight on December 20th goes well, three astronauts will be on board during the second launch of the Starliner next year.
After the retirement of the U.S. space shuttle in 2011, the U.S. transported astronauts to and from the space station to all “rely on” Russian spacecraft. To change that, NASA has strongly supported commercial manned spaceflight, commissioning Boeing and Space Exploration Technologies to build starliners and manned versions of the Dragon spacecraft, respectively, in 2014, but the first flight of the two spacecraft has been delayed several times since the original plan for 2017. The manned version of the Dragon spacecraft completed an unmanned test flight in March this year.