Boeing's Starliner: Reportedly Ready To Carry NASA Astronauts

Zinger Key Points
  • Boeing's Starliner to embark on inaugural mission with astronauts.
  • Mission signals Boeing's bid for NASA certification amidst SpaceX competition.

Stakes are high as Boeing Co BA reportedly readies its novel spacecraft, marking a significant milestone in space exploration. Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner spacecraft is being developed in collaboration with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

The vessel, named Starliner, is primed to embark on its maiden voyage with astronauts aboard. The initiative stands as a litmus test for the project’s readiness to undertake crucial NASA missions, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Starliner, the spacecraft sculpted like a gumdrop, is scheduled for liftoff on Monday, 10:34 p.m. ET, carrying astronauts Sunita Williams and Barry Wilmore to the International Space Station (ISS). 

Following a week-long mission, it will descend back to Earth, parachuting down in the western U.S.

Boeing has a rich history with NASA, spanning decades, encompassing contributions to projects like the Apollo missions. However, Starliner hasn’t been without its challenges, grappling with software glitches, communication issues, and mechanical failures, accruing hefty financial losses for the aerospace titan.

Amidst the excitement of the imminent launch, Boeing has found itself under the microscope, facing criticism over its aviation division’s recent mishaps. The company’s credibility took a hit following safety concerns with one of its aircraft earlier this year.

Also ReadAs Boeing Struggles, Embraer Considers Entry Into Narrow-Body Aircraft Market

As per the report, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson underscored the gravity of the mission, acknowledging the inherent risks of space travel while emphasizing collaboration with Boeing to ensure utmost safety. 

Starliner’s success holds paramount importance for Boeing, as it seeks NASA’s certification for routine crew rotations. A hitch-free mission is imperative, considering the agency’s reliance on SpaceX due to Starliner’s setbacks.

The report further noted Starliner’s journey will commence from Florida, hitching a ride atop an Atlas V rocket, a trusted booster operated by United Launch Alliance. The spacecraft is set to autonomously dock with the ISS after a day-long journey.

Boeing’s involvement in the Starliner project dates back over a decade, with NASA initially favoring its bid over SpaceX. However, the latter’s competitive drive spurred advancements in space travel technology.

The maiden Starliner mission in 2019 encountered setbacks, prompting NASA to intensify oversight. 

Boeing stock has lost 8% in the last 12 months. Investors can gain exposure to the stock via IShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF ITA and Direxion Daily Aerospace & Defense Bull 3X Shares DFEN.

Read Next: 2 Boeing Whistleblowers Die Within Weeks Of Each Other

Price Action: BA shares traded higher by 1.07% at $181.75 at the last check Monday.

Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of AI tools and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

Photo by L Galbraith on Shutterstock

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