Huntsville-designed reusable spacecraft in Cape Canaveral for uncrewed flight test

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Boeing CST-100 Starliner commercial crew capsule was transported from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to Cape Canaveral on Thursday.

Boeing celebrated its last major milestone ahead of next month’s Orbital Flight Test bringing them another step closer to sending astronauts to space from American soil.

The spacecraft was placed on top of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket ahead of Boeing’s uncrewed flight test to the International Space Station on December 17.

The test will provide data on the performance of the rocket, spacecraft and ground systems, as well as, in-orbit and landing operations.

Boeing says the Starliner is the only American-built capsule that is certified to land on terrain. The capsule has a unique system of airbags and parachutes that will allow it to be reusable up to 10 times.

Astronauts Chris Ferguson, Mike Fincke, and Nicole Mann addressed the large crowd that gathered during the early morning hours to view the Starliner’s roll out.

The data will be used toward certification of Boeing’s crew transportation system for carrying astronauts to and from the space station.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is working with the aerospace industry through public-private partnerships to launch astronauts on U.S. rockets and spacecraft from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011.

The goal of the program is safe, reliable and cost-effective human space transportation to and from the ISS.

NASA says this could allow for additional research time aboard the station and increase the opportunity for discovery, testing, and exploration.

The Boeing design center in Huntsville provided all the structural design for the Starliner capsule.  Boeing’s Phantom Works division, which also has an operation in Huntsville, provided the power systems for the capsule.

Check out the Starliner website for a countdown clock to the Orbital Flight Test mission.

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