Boeing releases capsule video of Starliner's first orbital mission
Boeing has released footage from its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft's first flight into space. Using feeds from a number of cameras inside the crew capsule, the video not only provided highlights of the 48-hour unmanned First Orbital Mission that flew from December 20 to 22, 2019, but also showed what it was like inside the craft when the engine malfunction that forced an early return to Earth occurred.
Things have come a long way from the early days of spaceflight when the best one could hope to record it was a few seconds of jerky cine camera footage of an astronaut or a couple of alarmed mice. Today, when high-definition cameras are now cheap enough to be standard features on mobile phones, it's easy to get sharp, full-color feeds, often live, from inside the spacecraft from multiple perspectives.
The 2-minute 52-second video that Boeing posted today came from a series of cameras inside the crew capsule, giving views of one of the windows, the cargo storage area, and the pilot's seat, which was occupied by the space-suited, instrument-laden flight test dummy nicknamed "Rosie" after the iconic Second World War propaganda poster character, Rosie the Riveter.
The video shows clips from inside the capsule as the spacecraft lifted off, ascended into space, jettisoned its ascent cover, and separated from the Centaur launch vehicle, as well as views of the Earth from low-Earth orbit and Starliner's fiery reentry and parachute landing.
The feeds also showed the dramatic moment after a mission timer malfunctioned, making the onboard computers lose its place in the mission sequence and start firing its thrusters at the wrong time, causing Starliner to go into the wrong orbit. As the rockets fired, the flight dummy and the bags in the hold shifted about as a small Snoopy doll in a spacesuit bobbed about on the end of a bit of short string on one of the bundles.
After the incident, NASA and Boeing engineers managed to stabilize Starliner's orbit but the scheduled visit to the International Space Station (ISS) was abandoned due to the large amounts of propellants wasted, so the craft was guided to an early landing at the US Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico on December 22 at 5:48 am MT.
The video can be seen below.