The Boeing Corporation has introduced its latest spacecraft in the form of the CST-100 Starliner.
Boeing has spread its wings. The CST-100 Starliner is a spacecraft that will transport crew from earth to outer space. The flight will be automatic and everything will go smooth as silk. NASA’s astronauts will be transported to the space station.
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Also excited tourists and eager passengers may board the vehicle for an experience of zero gravity. They will get to see the big blue marble that is the earth from the vantage point of space.
Both Boeing and SpaceX were given contracts by NASA in 2014. The goal was to make a spacecraft that could transport astronauts to the ISS and back. The CST-100 Airliner will be assembled at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The facility had been used as a launch pad for the space shuttle for the past two decades.
The space shuttle missions are in abeyance currently. A century ago, the aviation adventure began in earnest with the Wright Brothers’ experiment. And today we are at the dawn of a space era.
"One hundred years ago we were on the dawn of the commercial aviation era and today, with the help of NASA, we're on the dawn of a new commercial space era," said Boeing's John Elbon, vice president and general manager of Space Exploration.
"It's been such a pleasure to work hand-in-hand with NASA on this commercial crew development, and when we look back 100 years from this point, I’m really excited about what we will have discovered."
Parts of the Boeing CST-100 Structural Test Article rest on test stands inside the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility, or C3PF, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The test article will serve as a pathfinder for assembling and processing operational CST-100 spacecraft inside the revitalized facility, which for 20 years served as a shuttle processing hangar. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
NASA has really seen to it that the United States holds the #1 position on a worldwide level in regard to space exploration. The test version of the CST-100 has already been made. And although it will probably never make it into space, it will get road (or air) tested to see how it performs in real life.
Two years from now, a pad abort test will occur too. But everybody is waiting around to see how the real deal goes. Meanwhile, the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft has gotten built too. It will serve as ample competition for the CST-100 Starliner.
The challenge of deep space beckons all of mankind. Maybe the ultimate goal of man is to rise forth and venture off into space forever. To inhabit other planets and worlds may be a far worthier goal than going in search of alien life forms. The far-off journey to Mars is the closest we have come so far to this goal.
"Commercial crew is an essential component of our journey to Mars, and 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,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “That’s some impressive investment.”
A mural depicting on The Boeing Company’s newly named CST-100 Starliner commercial crew transportation spacecraft is installed on the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility, or C3PF, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Both the Starliner and the Crew Dragon will take astronauts to the ISS. The crew aboard the ISS will be expected to double thanks to this operation. As for the launch pad, the Kennedy Space Center is appropriate as the ideal venue for this.
“Kennedy Space Center has transitioned more than 50 facilities for commercial use. We have made improvements and upgrades to well-known Kennedy workhorses such as the Vehicle Assembly Building, mobile launcher, crawler–transporter and Launch Pad 39B in support of Orion, the SLS and Advanced Exploration Systems,” said Robert Cabana, Kennedy’s center director.
“I am proud of our success in transforming Kennedy Space Center to a 21st century, multi-user spaceport that is now capable of supporting the launch of all sizes and classes of vehicles, including horizontal launches from the Shuttle Landing Facility, and spacecraft processing and landing.”
Boeing officials say, “Kennedy was a natural choice given its expertise along the full range of spacecraft and rocket processing to launch and operations.”
"When Boeing was looking for the prime location for its program headquarters, we knew Florida had a lot to offer from the infrastructure to the supplier base to the skilled work force," said Chris Ferguson, a former shuttle commander who now is deputy manager of operations for Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program.
All will hopefully go well. It is just a matter of time before there are colonies on the moon and people in huge domed cities on other planets like Mars.
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