Sunita Williams' spacecraft will reach the space station shortly | Sunita Williams' spacecraft reached the space station: Docking did not happen in the first attempt due to a problem in the reaction control thruster, it was successful in the second attempt

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By scotlandbreakingnews.com

washington4 days ago

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The Starliner spacecraft docked at the forward port of the Harmony module of the International Space Station. - Dainik Bhaskar

The Starliner spacecraft docked to the forward port of the International Space Station's Harmony module.

The spacecraft of Indian-origin astronauts Sunita Williams and Butch Wilmore reached the International Space Station (ISS) at 11:03 pm. It was supposed to reach today, i.e. Thursday at 9:45 pm, but it could not happen due to a problem in the reaction control thruster. In the second attempt, the spacecraft was successfully docked with the space station.

Boeing's Starliner mission was launched on Wednesday, June 5 at 8:22 pm Indian time. It was launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on ULA's Atlas V rocket. Wilmore and Williams will stay in the space station for about a week to test the Starliner spacecraft and its subsystems.

Sunita Williams and Butch Wilmore's spacecraft reached the International Space Station (ISS) at 11:03 pm.

Sunita Williams and Butch Wilmore's spacecraft reached the International Space Station (ISS) at 11:03 pm.

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft a few meters from the International Space Station.

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft a few meters from the International Space Station.

Indian-origin astronauts Sunita Williams and Butch Wilmore

Indian-origin astronauts Sunita Williams and Butch Wilmore

Mission launch postponed twice, successful in the third attempt
The mission was scheduled to launch on May 7 at 8:04 am from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. But the team found a problem in the oxygen relief valve in the second stage of ULA's Atlas V rocket. In such a situation, the team decided to postpone the mission 2 hours before the launch.

The second attempt was made to launch it on June 1, but the ground launch sequencer automatically held the countdown clock 3 minutes 50 seconds before liftoff. In such a situation, the mission had to be postponed. Now the mission has been successfully launched in the third attempt.

If the mission is successful, NASA will have 2 spacecraft for the first time
If this mission is successful, for the first time in history, America will have 2 spacecrafts to send astronauts into space. Currently, America only has the Dragon spacecraft of Elon Musk's company SpaceX. NASA gave the contract to SpaceX and Boeing to make the spacecraft in 2014. SpaceX has already made it 4 years ago.

ULA's Atlas V rocket was scheduled to launch a second time on June 1, but a ground launch sequencer prevented liftoff.

ULA's Atlas V rocket was scheduled to launch a second time on June 1, but a ground launch sequencer prevented liftoff.

Sunita Williams and Butch Wilmore were aboard Boeing's Starliner spacecraft to go to the space station on May 7, but the mission had to be postponed 2 hours before.

Sunita Williams and Butch Wilmore were on board Boeing's Starliner spacecraft to go to the space station on May 7, but the mission had to be postponed 2 hours before.

Astronauts Sunita Williams and Butch Wilmore returning after a mission abort

Astronauts Sunita Williams and Butch Wilmore returning after a mission abort

(From left) NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sunita Williams pose with a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and Boeing's Starliner spacecraft. Photo credit: NASA

(From left) NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sunita Williams pose with a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and Boeing's Starliner spacecraft. Photo credit: NASA

Know Starline's journey from Earth to Space Station and back to Earth in 9 points

  • The Atlas V rocket launched. 15 minutes later, it released the Starliner spacecraft. The spacecraft's engines fired and it settled into orbit for a nearly 24-hour journey to the space station.
  • Starliner docked at the forward port of the Harmony module. During their stay, the crew will go inside Starliner, close the hatch and demonstrate that the spacecraft can serve as a safe haven in the future, such as a risk of collision with debris.
  • Wilmore and Williams will live and work with the Expedition 71 crew for about a week before returning to Earth. After undocking, manual piloting of the Starliner will be assessed. The crew will spend about 6 hours from undocking to landing.
  • During reentry into the Earth's atmosphere, the spacecraft will begin to slow down to a speed of 28,000 Km/hour. During this time the crew may feel a load of up to 3.5 g. After reentry, the heat shield on the front of the spacecraft will be removed to protect the parachute system.
  • Two drag and three main parachutes will further slow the Starliner. The base heat shield will deploy, exposing the dual airbag system. 6 primary airbags will deploy at the base of the capsule. These will act as cushions during landing.
  • The spacecraft will travel at a speed of about 6 kilometres per hour during landing. Possible landing locations include Wilcox in Arizona and Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. Edwards Air Force Base in California is available as an emergency landing site.
  • After touchdown, the crew will remove the parachutes, turn off the spacecraft's power and Mission Control will contact the landing and recovery teams via a satellite phone call. The recovery team will erect a tent around the Starliner and pump cool air into the spacecraft.
  • The Starliner's hatch will open and, less than an hour after landing, the two astronauts will go into a medical vehicle for a health check and then board a helicopter to reach NASA's aircraft, which will take them to Houston's Ellington Field.
  • Following landing and successful recovery, NASA will complete work to certify the spacecraft as an operational crew system for missions to the space station. Missions following certification are expected to begin in 2025.

Now answers to 5 important questions…
Question 1: How many people can fly on the Starliner?
answer:
The Starliner is designed to fit a maximum crew of seven, but the NASA mission will carry a crew of four.

Question 2: Is the Starliner spacecraft reusable? Answer: Yes, the crew module is designed to fly up to 10 missions, but the service module is not reusable.

Question 3: Will private astronauts also travel in Starliner?
answer:
Yes, Boeing will sell an additional fifth seat on NASA missions. Private citizens will be able to fly in it as tourists.

Question 4: Why does NASA need private players? Answer: The entry of private companies in the space sector has helped NASA develop advanced technology. This has also reduced mission costs. After the Space Shuttle program was discontinued in 2011, America became dependent on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft to reach the ISS. However, with the arrival of private players like SpaceX, its dependence on Russia has reduced.

SpaceX owner Elon Musk with his Dragon spacecraft. NASA currently sends astronauts to the space station using this spacecraft.

SpaceX owner Elon Musk with his Dragon spacecraft. NASA currently sends astronauts to the space station using this spacecraft.

Question 5: Why is the Starliner mission important for Boeing?
answer: Boeing is embroiled in controversies over its 737 Max aircraft. It met with an accident just a year after its use began in October 2018. This aircraft, a part of Ethiopian Airlines' fleet, crashed 13 minutes after takeoff. 189 people died in it.

Another accident happened in 2019 in which 157 people died. In January this year, the door of another Boeing 737 series aircraft Max-9 broke and fell from a height of 16 thousand feet. This once again raised questions about the safety of Boeing aircraft.

Amidst all these events, Boeing is preparing to carry out a major mission for NASA. According to experts, if the Starliner mission is successful, it will improve Boeing's image. However, if there is a problem in the mission, the company's reputation will be greatly affected.

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