Watch NASA Astronauts Give A Zero Gravity Tour Of Boeing's Starliner Spacecraft

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NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore recently gave a tour of Boeing’s Starliner while docked at the International Space Station (ISS). Starliner successfully launched for the first time with crew onboard last week, en route to the ISS following two prior delays.

Wilmore and Williams arrived at ISS on Thursday of last week, docking Starliner to the Harmony module’s forward port. The two astronauts got some much needed rest, sleeping in on Friday before beginning their first full day at the space station. Once up and awake, the duo began transferring cargo and emergency gear in and out of the Starliner spacecraft.

Williams kicked off the 10-minute tour of Starliner while in microgravity conditions, with Wilmore behind the camera. The tour included showing Starliner’s control panels, switches, and knobs, which are utilized to manage the spacecraft’s systems.

During the tour, Wilmore remarked, “Everything’s been fantastic. The spacecraft has handled remarkably well, much better even than the simulator.” He added Starliner felt “fairly roomy for just Sunni and myself,” even though appearing cramped to those who have never had the pleasure of flying in a spacecraft such as Starliner.

Wilmore also remarked that the two astronauts had already practiced a “safe haven event” using Starliner as their “safe haven.” The practice involved Williams and Wilmore having to quickly enter the spacecraft and sealing the hatch in case of an emergency. Such emergencies might include a scenario where space debris was approaching the ISS.

While Wilmore praised Starliner’s abilities, the spacecraft was not without issues during the journey to the ISS. Several helium leaks were detected on the spacecraft, one known before launch, which the team back on Earth is monitoring closely. The spacecraft also experienced an issue with the docking process involving Starliner’s reaction control thrusters. However, the crew was able to overcome the docking issue by taking manual control of the spacecraft.

NASA and Boeing are hopeful that the current Starliner mission will help get the spacecraft certified for rotational missions to the ISS. If successful in doing so, it will give the space agency a second option along with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, which successfully flew its first astronauts to the ISS in 2020.