There’s even a commemorative U.S. flag on board, which will remain on the station until Boeing launches a Starliner that is capable of taking up and bringing back an American crew.
This is the third time Boeing is trying to make the Starliner a companion to the SpaceX Crew Dragon in carrying astronauts to and from the ISS. The first time it did it, in December 2019, software issues prevented the capsule from docking with the ISS.
The second time, in August last year, the thing didn’t even leave the pad and spent about ten months getting fixed and ready for the current mission.
“We’ve learned a lot about the capability of our spacecraft and the resilience of our team since the first Starliner launch,” said in a statement Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager, Boeing Commercial Crew Program.
“We still have a lot of operational testing ahead as we prepare to rendezvous with the space station, but we’re ready to demonstrate the system we’ve worked so hard on is capable of carrying astronauts to space.”
We’ll keep our eyes pinned to the sky and will update this story when and if the Starliner docks with the station.