Building a Spaceship

Boeing's Commercial Crew team readies their first spaceworthy CST-100 Starliner for final preflight testing.

November 21, 2018 in Space

After years of design, test and production, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner team at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida built their first vehicle destined to take humans to and from low-Earth orbit. The crew capsule, known as “Spacecraft 2,” is the first human-rated orbital spacecraft built from the ground up since NASA built Space Shuttle Columbia nearly 40 years ago. Spacecraft 2 will take Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson and his two NASA crewmates, Eric Boe and Nicole Mann, to the International Space Station on the Starliner’s first crewed flight next year.

Before their liftoff, Spacecraft 2 will undergo environmental qualification testing at Boeing's satellite test facilities in El Segundo, Calif. In those world-class, one-of-a-kind environmental test chambers, the Starliner will experience similar environments it will see during its mission – fierce vibrations, the vacuum of space, extreme temperatures and electromagnetic radiation. At the conclusion of the test program, the Starliner will be deemed ready to handle the harsh environment of space. Starliner spacecraft will then fly an uncrewed test flight, a crewed test flight and then operational missions ferrying NASA and partner nation astronauts to and from the International Space Station.