Boeing’s Starliner team recently entered the final stretch in their efforts to restore human spaceflight launch capabilities to America.
Working out of Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Starliner team put the finishing touches on the second Starliner space vehicle: “Spacecraft 2.” This vehicle is the first American-built, human-rated spacecraft assembled from scratch since the Space Shuttle Columbia almost four decades ago.
The advanced, human-rated spacecraft will fly Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson (who has helped develop the spacecraft) and two NASA crewmates to the International Space Station in 2019 for its first crewed flight. After years of designing and testing the Starliner, finishing the innovative spacecraft represents a major success for American spaceflight.
But before Starliner can take astronauts to space, it has to undergo a final series of vigorous and intense tests designed to make sure the spacecraft can handle the most extreme conditions space has to offer.
These include an intense vibration test (similar to a rocket launch), extreme temperature testing and some electromagnetic radiation tests – all meant to put the Starliner through harsh environments, like the spacecraft will encounter during its missions to the International Space Station.
Want to find out how Starliner’s Spacecraft 2 fares in these extreme conditions?