CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - It's a big day for Boeing in Brevard County.
They have officially rolled out their first Starliner crew capsule. It left its manufacturing facility inside the Kennedy Space Senter on Thursday morning on a slow-speed transporter, traveling a few miles away to a launch pad where it will be placed onto an Atlas 5 rocket to prepare for liftoff next month in an unmanned test flight to the International Space Station.
This is a crucial step before the Starliner takes astronauts into space next year.
It was back in August of 2018 when NASA announced the nine American astronauts who will be traveling to space as part of the commercial crew program.
NASA partnered with both Boeing and SpaceX to develop a new generation of spacecraft.
"We are on the brink of launch in American astronauts on American rockets from American soil."
Before the manned test flights, the Boeing Starliner will go without a crew. The goal is for this capsule to be used by NASA for regular trips to the International Space Station. It will ultimately research the challenges of long-duration spaceflight, which is necessary for a sustainable presence on our moon or Mars.
Taxpayers have invested six billion dollars into SpaceX and Boeing to take over from the Russians ferrying astronauts up to space.
The contract ends early next year.
The Starliner is scheduled to make liftoff on Dec. 17 for a week-long unpiloted flight.