Spacecraft Successfully Docks with International Space Station on Crewed Test Flight

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft successfully docked with the International Space Station on June 6 for its first crewed flight. The docking took place at 1:34 p.m. Eastern time after overcoming issues with the spacecraft’s thrusters.

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams were on board the Starliner and entered the station about two hours after the docking. The spacecraft experienced delays in docking as engineers worked to resolve problems with five reaction control system (RCS) thrusters that went offline during the approach.

Despite the challenges, four of the five thrusters were successfully brought back online, allowing the docking to proceed. NASA and Boeing officials noted that similar issues were encountered during the uncrewed test flight in May 2022.

The problem was attributed to software controlling the thrusters and the data received by the software, rather than the thrusters themselves. Mission managers also detected helium leaks in the propulsion system, which required additional troubleshooting before the docking could take place.

While the causes of the thruster malfunctions and helium leaks remain unclear, officials are confident that the issues can be addressed for future missions. The crew will remain docked at the station for at least eight days to conduct further tests and investigations.

Overall, despite the technical challenges, the mission was deemed a success by officials, who praised the spacecraft’s performance and the astronauts’ experience in space.

Stay tuned for more updates on the Starliner mission as it continues its journey in space.