In news- Boeing Company has postponed the planned launch of its CST-100 Starliner capsule from Florida’s Cape Canaveral bound for the International Space Station (ISS) due to a technical glitch in the ISS.
About the capsule-
- The spacecraft, which is called the Crew Space Transportation-100 (CST-100) is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
- The Starliner, which is supposed to carry more than 400 pounds of NASA cargo and crew supplies, will take roughly 24 hours to reach the ISS, after which it will dock there.
- The spacecraft has been designed to accommodate seven passengers or a mix of crew and cargo for missions to low-Earth orbit.
- It has an innovative, weldless structure and is reusable up to 10 times with a six-month turnaround time.
- It also features wireless internet and tablet technology for crew interfaces.
- When this test flight takes off, it will check the capabilities of the spacecraft from launch, docking, atmospheric re-entry and a landing at a desert in the US.
NASA’s Commercial Crew Program-
- The main objective of the Program is to make access to space easier in terms of its cost, so that cargo and crew can be easily transported to and from the ISS, enabling greater scientific research.
- Through this program, NASA plans to lower its costs by sharing them with commercial partners such as Boeing and SpaceX, and also give the companies incentive to design and build the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS).
- By encouraging private companies to provide crew transportation services to and from low-Earth orbit, NASA can focus on building spacecraft and rockets meant for deep space exploration missions.
- Boeing and SpaceX were selected by NASA in September 2014 to develop transportation systems meant to transfer crew from the US to the ISS.
- The Starliner capsule headlined Boeing’s efforts against Elon Musk’s SpaceX to be the first to return NASA astronauts to the space station from U.S. soil in nearly a decade.
- But a series of software glitches during the December 2019 debut launch resulted in its failure to dock at the orbital laboratory outpost.