Cape Canaveral, Florida – NASA is preparing four of its best astronauts to drive the newly designed Boeing shuttle scheduled for launch on 2017. Two of the four astronauts selected to drive the space shuttle got a first glimpse at the spacecraft driving system.
The astronauts assisted to the ST. Louis Boeing warehouse to try for the first time the new system that will run on the shuttle designed by Boeing.
The first launch on the spacecraft is expected to happen on 2017 and it will mark the first launching of astronauts in the United States in years. NASA has been paying Russia to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station, since the space shuttle retired in the year of 2011.
The new spacecraft has been designed by a NASA’s contractor. In addition, astronauts Sunita Williams and Eric Boe attended the Boeing warehouse to have a first look on what the shuttle’s controls will look like.
— NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) April 27, 2016
Back in 2014 NASA made an agreement with two companies, Boeing and SpaceX in order to join forces. They will be in charge of designing a new spacecraft to deliver American astronauts to the International Space Station sometime in the next year.
The main focus of the new spacecraft is to fly companies and possibly even tourists to what is known as the “Earth’s low orbit”. The profits of this inversion will convert into a fund meant to be used for deeper space exploring.
Starliner: An unknown spacecraft for veteran astronauts to get accustomed to
Both astronauts Williams and Boe practiced at big touch screens the simulation of a disembarking maneuver, while getting a first look to the new system. This simulator will allow them to practice and dominate the new spacecraft.
— NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) April 26, 2016
Boe and Williams are part of NASA’s new commercial crew program that will be driving the new CST-’100 Starliner. Even though the astronauts are part of NASA’s best test pilots, the Starliner comes with a different system that astronauts will need to get used to.
“It’s like learning to ride a bike with training wheels. This is where it starts, this is the first step” said Eric Boe in a press conference when talking about the Starliner.
This is not the first time NASA uses contractors to create new spacecrafts, recently SpaceX and Orbital ATK built the Dragon SpaceX craft that was an transportation craft use to deliver supplies to the ISS.
The simulators constructed by Boeing will be delivered to the Boeing facility in Houston so more astronauts can practice with them for future space travels.
Source: Washington Post