Starliner successfully docks with the ISS

Photo // Serg Korsakov

At 8:50 pm EDT, Boeing's Starliner spacecraft docked at the International Space Station for the first time (8:28 pm EDT soft capture, 8:50 pm EDT hard capture). The spacecraft will spend the next 4 days unloading the cargo it brought up and reloading with cargo for the return trip back to Earth. During this period, teams will be evaluating the spacecraft as it's docked and preparing it to return home. Starliner's hatch will be opened later this morning at 11:30 am EDT. Undocking will occur on Wednesday, May 25th.

During the orbital insertion burn, however, 2 of the 12 thrusters on Starliner shut down early, because of a sudden drop of pressure in the chambers. Boeing says that this does not pose a threat to the rest of the OFT-2 mission, as there are redundancies built into the spacecraft's systems in case something like this occurs.

Boeing's Crew Space Transportation (CST-100) Starliner Spacecraft is a vehicle developed by Boeing under NASA's Commercial Crew Program. This mission, OFT-2, is the second uncrewed test flight to dock with the International Space Station to prove its capabilities of autonomously docking to the ISS and safely returning to Earth. During its first test flight back in December 2019, OFT-1, Starliner failed to rendezvous and dock with the ISS, but successfully returned back to Earth safely after 2 days in space. Unlike SpaceX's Crew Dragon, Starliner lands back on solid ground at one of the 5 landing sites in the Western US.