Boeing Starliner launches first crewed mission

This is an important mission
too for United Launch Alliance, the company that operates the rocket that took Starliner skyward.

ULA is perhaps best known for
putting up some of America’s key military and national security satellites and
has also sent many of Nasa’s science missions on their way, including the big
Mars rovers, Curiosity and Perseverance.

But this will be the first time ULA
(it was established in 2006) has launched astronauts.

The company’s Atlas-V
rocket is one of the most reliable in the business.

It’s a two-stage vehicle.
The booster, the bottom segment, fired for about 4 minutes and 30 seconds
to get Starliner off the ground.

A couple of strap-on
solid rocket motors assisted this operation.

The top segment, the Centaur
upper-stage, then performed the second part of the flight profile, firing on
until almost 12 minutes after liftoff.

Shortly after that,
Starliner was jettisoned.

It used its own
thrusters to fully insert itself into orbit, ready to begin its chase of the
ISS.

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