We now know what space travel looks like from Boeing’s new astronaut taxi.
Fresh footage from Boeing’s unmanned Starliner test flight in May shows multiple views of the spacecraft coming in for a landing at the end of Orbital Test Flight-2who flew to International Space Station and back.
Up to four cameras of the Starliner’s final minutes of flight on May 25 are played simultaneously in the video, which has been uploaded to YouTube (opens in a new tab).
An interior view with a mannequin, a view out the window and two ground cameras provide multiple perspectives to provide engineers with data on the landing effort in the New Mexico desert.
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“Starliner lands in the desert instead of splashing into the ocean, which is a first for an orbital capsule built in the United States,” Boeing officials wrote in a caption for the YouTube video, contrasting the design with its competitor. SpaceX which use sea landings.
“It is [Starliner’s] proven parachute and airbag systems provide a soft landing on the sand, reducing strain on the crew,” Boeing continued. “Regardless of sea conditions, such as wave height, swell, currents and surface winds, passengers can walk straight out of the sea. spacecraft on dry land.”
The engineering information will be crucial to ensure that Starliner is ready for new astronaut missions. Boeing and NASA together working through the data from the test flight to see how well the company was able to achieve its goals.
This process is expected to be completed in the coming months, and Boeing hopes to launch its first crew room mission in February 2023, which is a three-month delay due to addressing some issues in the test flight, according to previous statements from Boeing and NASA.
Related: The science and cargo of Boeing’s OFT-2 Starliner test flight to the space station
Boeing has a commercial crew agreement with NASA for launch at least six assignments (opens in a new tab) to the orbital complex through NASA’s expected the end of the international partnership in 2030. That said, other partners have yet to sign on for an extension to the ISS framework, which currently expires in 2024. (Russia plans to leave after 2024 to build their own space station.)
The other provider of commercial crew flights, SpaceX, has been sending astronauts to the ISS since 2020. NASA recently awarded SpaceX more ISS flights, saying that right now the Hawthorne, California-based company only one considered to send astronauts on orbital space missions from US soil.
A selection of manned space flights still take place from Russia, which supplies Soyuz flights to the ISS. That said, NASA pursues most of its space missions independently, especially in the wake of Russia’s internationally condemned invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The countries have repeatedly said that operations between the US and Russia remain normal when it comes to human spaceflight, even as other space agreements were torn up.