The first CST-100 Starliner flight test vehicle is under construction at Boeing’s spacecraft factory at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The two pieces of the vehicle, called the crew module and service module, were mated for the first time. This is one of the last steps in production before the vehicle is shipped to White Sands, New Mexico, for a Pad Abort Test. That test will prove the Starliner's abort system will whisk the capsule and its astronaut passengers away quickly and safely in the unlikely event there is an emergency with the spacecraft's rocket.
The Starliner will fly two test flights to the International Space Station, before performing long-duration crew rotation missions for NASA. The goal of the commercially developed and operated spacecraft is to return crew launch and landing capabilities to NASA and the United States. The Starliner will launch astronauts from American soil for the first time since the space shuttle retired in 2011.