Starliner is Boeing’s new commercial space shuttle. Announced recently, the CST-100 is boosting hopes that the U.S. dependency on the Russian Soyuz spacecrafts will soon come to an end.
The purpose of Boeing’s new Crew Space Transportation 100 (CST) is mainly to transport both crew and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). Part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, the Boeing’s new commercial space shuttle will be build as well as tested in a NASA facility pertaining to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Boeing’s contract with NASA is valued at 4.2 billion dollars and it covers the building of the commercial spacecraft, as well as the shuttle processing site. The company’s plans are to build three Starline space shuttles that would bring the U.S. commercial program back on national grounds and cut the current dependency on the Russian Federation’s Soyuz spacecrafts.
Each of the units planned by Boeing would be able to perform commercial travels transporting both cargo and crew up to 10 times. The design of the Starliner CST 100 indicated that seven passengers could be aboard at the same time. Provided that the cargo is not too large, more crew could be aboard.
Boeing is also planning to integrate the mission control team of the U.S. space agency in managing flight operations. Soon, the Starliners could also be the space taxi of choice to researchers, scientists or foreign astronauts, in accordance with permits of cargo requirements, as well as available seats.
Boeing’s Starliner will take off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, nested aboard the Atlas 5 rockets. These are operated by the United Launch Alliance, which is essentially a partnership between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
And while this is great news for NASA’s commercial program, other spacecrafts are being developed as part of a different partnership with SpaceX, led by Elon Musk.
To provide us with a bigger picture of what is going on, Charles Bolden of NASA stated:
“In 35 states, 350 American companies are working to make it possible for the greatest country on Earth to once again launch our own astronauts into space”.
Photo Credits: Fox