CST-100 Starliner

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CST-100 Starliner (computer graphics)
Exploded the CST-100 Starliner

The CST-100 Starliner (CST for Crew Space Transportation ) is a manned and reusable spacecraft under development , manufactured by Boeing .

Development and testing

An Atlas V with the CST-100 of the Orbital Flight Test on the launch pad with the service tower (December 18, 2019)
The CST-100 of the Orbital Flight Test on December 22, 2019 after landing

The development of the CST-100 Starliner is being financed with almost 5 billion US dollars by NASA as part of the COTS , CCDev and CCiCap programs to ensure the transport of equipment, goods and crews to the International Space Station . The Atlas V, Delta IV , Falcon 9 and, in the future, the Vulcan can be used as launch vehicles . The Delta IV is not approved for manned flights, however, and no adapter has been developed for the Falcon 9. The Atlas V marketed by the United Launch Alliance , a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing , will be used for the first flights .

A first test of the airbag system took place in September 2011. A prototype was dropped from a height of one and a half kilometers above the Mojave Desert. In April 2012, the main parachute system was tested for the first time by dropping a prototype over the Nevada desert from a height of three kilometers. In July of the following year, Boeing presented a mock-up of the CST-100 Starliner capsule. Two NASA astronauts ( Serena Auñón and Randolph Bresnik ) tested the interior. In September 2013, the control engines of the CST-100 Starliner were tested, with which the spaceship can maneuver and brake.

On November 4, 2019, the rescue system was tested during the Pad Abort Test . Although one of three parachutes did not open, the spacecraft landed unscathed.

The first unmanned orbital test flight ( Boe-OFT ) took place on December 20, 2019. After the separation from the Atlas upper level, several program errors were recognized in the software of the Starliner. Manual interventions by ground control prevented the spaceship from being lost. However, the unplanned ignition of steering engines lost so much fuel that the Starliner could no longer - as planned - head for the International Space Station.

Since the spaceship can only remain independently in space for two days, the mission was canceled. On the morning of December 22, 2019, Boeing installed a software update that fixed a serious error in the control of the engines and possibly prevented the spaceship from being lost. A few hours later, the crew capsule of the CST-100 landed safely in the White Sands desert in the south of the US state of New Mexico .

After the partially failed test, Boeing 61 “ corrective actions ” were imposed on the spaceship's software and the software development processes in the Starliner program. In addition, NASA and Boeing agreed to repeat the flight .

On August 3, 2018, NASA nominated Christopher Ferguson , Nicole Aunapu Mann and Eric Boe as test pilots for the first manned test flight ( Boe-CFT ) . Boe was replaced by Michael Fincke in January 2019 for health reasons . Josh Cassada , Sunita Williams and Jeanette Epps will form the crew on the second manned Starliner flight .


As with Apollo , the spaceship consists of a crew and a service module.

The conical crew module has a diameter of 4.5 meters and should be able to accommodate a crew of seven people. The astronauts sit in two rows, four in the lower, three in the upper. The capsule will have wireless Internet, “Sky Lighting” LED lighting , seats that cushion the impact similar to the Soyuz , and modern, tablet-like on-board computers. At the top is the IDSS -compatible coupling adapter with which the spaceship is to dock to the IDA coupling sockets of the ISS.

The service module is divided into a central and six outer sections. The tanks are located in the outer sections. There are 20 small engines with a thrust of around 2.2 kN each for orbit changes  ; there are also 28 position control engines , each with approx. 0.5 kN thrust. Another 4 × 200 kN are generated by four RS-88 engines, which are only activated in emergency situations during take-offs in order to move the spaceship out of the danger zone. In this way there is no need for a rescue rocket. A hypergolic fuel mixture is to be used as fuel for the engines , in which oxidizing and reducing agents react spontaneously with each other when they are brought into contact.

Flight profile

The spacecraft will launch from Cape Canaveral AFS Launch Complex 41 and should be able to fly autonomously for 60 hours. The space stations to be approached should be reached within 24 hours of take-off, with a reserve of a further 24 hours. Docked to a space station, a CST-100 Starliner should be able to stay in space for up to 210 days. When landing, it should first be slowed down by parachutes and then, cushioned by airbags , touch down on dry lakes on the mainland. Alternatively, a splash in the ocean should also be possible.

The crew module of the CST-100 should be reusable up to ten times. The service module burns up when it returns to the earth's atmosphere.


List updated: August 29, 2020

No. mission Start date ( UTC ) Flight duration Launcher Launch site comment
1. Boe-OFT 20th December 2019 2 days Atlas V CCAFS SLC-41 unmanned, partial success (successful take-off and landing, but too low orbit for ISS docking)
2. Boe OFT repeat December 2020 about a week Atlas V CCAFS SLC-41 planned unmanned
2. Boe-CFT not before June 2021 Atlas V CCAFS SLC-41 planned
crew: Michael Fincke , Chris Ferguson , Nicole Mann
3. Starliner-1 End of December 2021 6 months Atlas V CCAFS SLC-41 planned
crew: Sunita Williams Josh Cassada , Jeanette Epps

Web links

Commons : CST-100  - Collection of Images
  • Design Considerations for a Commercial Crew Transportation System. PDF

Individual evidence

  1. Boeing takes $ 410 million charge to redo failed astronaut flight test if NASA requires . CNBC, Jan. 29, 2020.
  2. Boeing performs Starliner pad abort test . Spacenews, November 4, 2019.
  3. NASA Shares Initial Findings from Boeing Starliner Orbital Flight Test Investigation . NASA, February 7, 2020.
  4. Test flight from the space capsule "Starliner" to the ISS failed orf.at, December 20, 2019, accessed December 20, 2019, 4:15 p.m. CET.
  5. Boeing Starliner Flight's Flaws Show, 'Fundamental Problem,' NASA Says . The New York Times, February 7, 2020.
  6. Boeing capsule returns to Earth after aborted space mission (Update), In: Phys.org (English)
  7. ^ NASA Update on Orbital Flight Test Independent Review Team . NASA, March 6, 2020.
  8. ^ Jeff Foust: No decision yet on need for second Starliner uncrewed test flight . Spacenews, March 6, 2020.
  9. Boeing to Fly Second Uncrewed Orbital Flight Test for NASA . NASA, April 6, 2020.
  10. ^ A b Jeff Foust: NASA assigns astronauts to first commercial crew missions. August 3, 2018, accessed August 4, 2018 .
  11. NASA: NASA Announces Updated Crew Assignment for Boeing Flight Test. January 22, 2019, accessed January 27, 2019 .
  12. Sean Potter: Astronaut Jeanette Epps Joins First Operational Boeing Crew Mission . August 25, 2020.
  13. Stephen Clark: Boeing closing in on Starliner pad abort test. In: Spaceflight Now. October 1, 2019, accessed October 1, 2019 .
  14. ^ Crew tower rising at Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 41 . In: FloridaToday , September 21, 2015. Retrieved August 19, 2016. 
  15. Today the CST-100 Starliner flies to the ISS, In: Nau.ch
  16. ^ Launch Schedule. Spaceflight Now, accessed August 29, 2020 .
  17. a b c NASA: Boeing's Starliner Makes Progress Ahead of Flight Test with Astronauts. August 28, 2020, accessed on August 29, 2020 (English): "After a successful OFT-2, Boeing and NASA will fly Starliner's first crewed mission, the Crew Flight Test, currently targeted for no earlier than June 2021, with the first post-certification mission, called Starliner-1, tentatively scheduled for no earlier than late December 2021. The CFT crew members are Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson and NASA astronauts Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann. "
  18. a b c NASA: NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps Joins First Operational Boeing Crew Mission to Space Station. In: NASA Release 20-082. August 25, 2020, accessed on August 28, 2020 .