June 21, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Astronomy

NASA and Boeing Starliner launch on mission to the ISS

Update: After two previous postponements, NASA astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita “Suni” Williams are headed to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of NASA's Boeing Starliner crew flight test launch.

Takeoff was at 10:52 am EDT.

Can read the latest updates here from NASA and watch the live stream below.

NASA will broadcast the docking, hatch opening and welcoming remarks from the astronauts.

If you are near Florida's Space Coast, there are Many places where you can see the launch in person..

The Boeing StarlinerThe mission

Astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Isaac Watson

The Starliner is part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which seeks to launch astronauts into space in a public-private partnership using American technology. Boeing CST-100 Starliner capsule It is 15 feet (4.6 meters) in diameter, can be piloted manually or automatically, and can accommodate seven astronauts. If the mission is successful, the space agency will finalize the certification of Starliner for missions to the ISS. This mission will focus on verifying the transportation system, including the launch pad and rocket, in-orbit functions, and manned return to Earth. Boeing's Starliner capsules They are reusable up to 10 times before requiring service and have features including wireless Internet.

“We are going to have a whole new adventure. “This is a big part of our space exploration and what I call the 'golden age of space exploration,'” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said during a conference. Press conference. “It is a historic day. “It's a wonderful day.”

The interior of the Boeing Starliner.
The interior of the Boeing Starliner. Credit: Boeing/NASA.

Wilmore and Williams will remain on the ISS for about a week before returning to Earth. The craft will use parachutes and airbags to land in the southwestern US.

Wilmore has been on two space flights, including one aboard the space shuttle. Atlantis (STS-129), and has spent 178 days in space. Williams was selected as nasa astronaut in 1998. Since then, he has spent 322 days in space, also on two space missions.

Here are the official biographies of the crew, courtesy of boeing:

Barry “Butch” E. Wilmore

Barry “Butch” E. Wilmore is the Starliner crew flight test (CFT) commander. He was selected as an astronaut by NASA in July 2000. The Tennessee native is a veteran of two space flights, STS-129 and Expedition 41/42.

For STS-129, Wilmore was the mission pilot delivering two Express Logistics Carrier racks and about 30,000 pounds of spare parts to the International Space Station (ISS) to maintain its proper orientation in space.

For Expeditions 41/42, Wilmore launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and returned to Earth in Kazakhstan. He was a flight engineer for Expedition 41 and then Commander of Expedition 42. While on the ISS, Wilmore conducted three spacewalks to prepare for new international docking adapters and future US commercial crewed spacecraft. a fourth spacewalk to replace a broken voltage regulator.

In total, Wilmore has spent 178 days in space. Its launch on an Atlas V/Starliner will be Wilmore's third rocket and spacecraft combination in orbit.

Retired Navy captain, he has accumulated more than 8,000 flight hours and 663 carrier landings, all in tactical jet aircraft, and graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School as a Navy officer and pilot. During testing, Wilmore flew the F/A-18 Hornet and T-45 Goshawk, and was a flight test instructor at the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

He graduated from Tennessee Technological University and the University of Tennessee.

Sunita “Suni” L. Williams

Sunita “Suni” L. Williams is the Starliner Crew Flight Test (CFT) pilot. She was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1998. The Ohio native is a veteran of two space missions, Expeditions 14/15 and 32/33.

For Expedition 14/15, Williams served as a flight engineer for the International Space Station. He launched with the crew of STS-116 and returned with the crew of STS-117. While on board, he performed four spacewalks, totaling 29 hours and 17 minutes. He also completed the Boston Marathon on a station treadmill, with an official finishing time of 4:23:10. During the race, Williams circled the Earth at least twice, running at a speed of 8 mph but flying at more than 5 miles per second.

For Expedition 32/33, Williams launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and returned to Earth in Kazakhstan. She spent four months conducting research and exploration aboard the orbital laboratory, first as flight engineer for Expedition 32 and then as commander of Expedition 33. While aboard, Williams conducted three spacewalks to replace a component that transmits power from the station's solar panels to their and to repair an ammonia leak in a station's radiator.

Williams, who has spent a total of 322 days in space, ranks sixth on the U.S. all-time endurance list and second all-time for a female astronaut. Launching it on an Atlas V/Starliner will be Williams' third rocket and spacecraft combination to orbit.

A retired Navy test pilot and captain, he has logged more than 3,000 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft, including the CH-46 Sea Knight and the V-22 Osprey. He also received the designation of him as a Basic Diving Officer by the Naval Coastal System Command.

Williams graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and the Florida Institute of Technology.

Mike Fincke

E. Michael Fincke, call sign “Spanky”, is training as a Starliner Crew Flight Test (CFT) backup crew member and has been assigned as pilot for the Starliner-1 mission. He was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1996. The Pennsylvania native is a veteran of three space flights, Expedition 9 in 2004, Expedition 18 in 2009 and STS-134 in 2011.

For Expedition 9, Fincke served as a science officer and flight engineer during his six-month stay aboard the International Space Station. While there, he performed four spacewalks. For Expedition 18, Fincke served as Commander while he and his crew prepared the station for future six-person crews. For STS-134, he served as a mission specialist and completed three spacewalks. The mission also delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a cosmic ray particle physics detector, to the space station.

In total, Fincke has been in orbit for more than a year, with nine spacewalks. Its launch on an Atlas V/Starliner will be Fincke's third rocket and spacecraft combination in orbit.

An Air Force flight test engineer and retired colonel, he has logged more than 1,900 flight hours in 30 different aircraft, including the F-15 Eagle. He received the US Air Force Test Pilot School's Colonel Ray Jones Award as the best flight test engineer/flight test navigator in the 93B class.

Fincke graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, El Camino College and the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

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