Astronauts aboard the International Space Station provided an up-close view of Boeing’s Starliner capsule in a recent video tour from orbit.
Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft arrived at the space station for the first time on Friday (May 20) as part of Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2) — an uncrewed shakeout mission designed to show that the capsule is ready to start carrying astronauts to and from the station for NASA.
The crew aboard the space station gave a video tour of the Starliner capsule while it was docked to the orbiting lab, offering viewers the chance to see inside the spacecraft, explore its equipment and meet Boeing’s test dummy Rosie the Rocketeer, named after Rosie the Riveter of World War II-era fame. She was joined by a plush toy named Jebediah “Jeb” Kerman — a Kerbonaut from the hit space exploration game Kerbal Space Program — which Boeing used as a zero-g indicator to show when the capsule reached space.
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“Welcome to Starliner for the very first time ever in space,” NASA astronaut Robert Hines said during the video tour, which NASA shared on YouTube (opens in new tab).
Rosie was seated in the commander’s seat, with Jeb floating near her head. On crewed Starliner vehicles, there will be an additional two seats and plenty of room for cargo, Hines said in the video.
Hines opened the door to Starliner at 12:04 p.m. EDT (1604 GMT) on May 20, allowing the ISS astronauts to begin testing the capsule in space. The OFT-2 mission marks a major milestone for Boeing and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
During the first OFT mission in December 2019, Starliner failed to reach the space station due to software glitches. Then, the spacecraft’s second attempt, originally scheduled for liftoff in August 2021, was pushed back more than eight months after an issue was discovered in the capsule’s propulsion system. Despite a few delays, the OFT-2 mission has now demonstrated Starliner’s ability to successfully dock with the space station.
If all goes according to plan, the spacecraft will return to Earth tonight (May 25), touching down at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico at 6:49 p.m. EDT (2249 GMT). You can watch all of this action live at Space.com when the time comes, courtesy of NASA. Coverage will begin at 2 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT) today ahead of Starliner’s undocking from the space station at 2:36 p.m. (1836 GMT).