Boeing’s crew capsule proclaimed prepared for first space flight

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The renewed space race is prepared for the next step.

Boeing’s Starliner team container is prepared for its first trip.

NASA and Boeing managers on Thursday consented to a Dec. 20 liftoff for its first test flight to the International Space Station.

“Hopefully, we should all be getting an early Christmas present this year,” said Phil McAlister, director of NASA’s commercial spaceflight development.

Only a few technical issues stay to be finished, he noted.

Nobody will be on board, only a mannequin named Rosie. Three astronauts will strap in for the second test flight of a Starliner at some point one year from now.

SpaceX likewise plans to launch astronauts for NASA one year from now. The organization led a test flight without a crew back in March.

NASA went to the two private companies in 2014 to ferry astronauts to and from the space station.

In the case of Boeing or SpaceX, it will be the first time U.S. astronauts rocket to orbit from home soil in almost nine years. The more extended than-foreseen hiatus extends back to NASA’s last space shuttle flight in July 2011. NASA astronauts have been stuck riding Russian rockets in the meantime.

United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket will give the Starliner’s lift from Cape Canaveral, a little before sunrise. The capsule will parachute into New Mexico on Dec. 28 to finish off the flight.

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