Topline

An uncrewed Boeing Starliner spacecraft reached Earth’s orbit Thursday evening and is now en route to the International Space Station, marking what could become the capsule’s first successful test launch following an unsuccessful 2019 attempt, a major step in Boeing and NASA’s quest to eventually use the Starliner for crewed missions.

Key Facts

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The Boeing Starliner successfully lifted off at 6:54 pm Eastern in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and separated from various stages of the Atlas V rocket within 15 minutes, after which the capsule used its engines to enter a final orbit and head toward the ISS—a process known as “orbital insertion burn” that had previously failed in a late 2019 test.

The spacecraft is scheduled to reach the ISS on Friday at around 7:10 pm and will test its docking systems on the way, before returning to Earth after several days and touching down on land, Boeing said,

The Starliner is carrying about 800 pounds of cargo to the ISS, along with a test dummy named “Rosie the Rocketeer.”