NASA has assigned Boeing’s Starliner as one of two US spacecraft to transport humans to and from the International Space Station (ISS). The vehicle is intended to usher in a new era of private “taxi services” that operate just above the surface of the Earth. NASA became reliant on Russia to send its astronauts to the ISS after the space shuttle was retired in 2011. Meanwhile, NASA worked on transferring this project to American firms. Boeing and SpaceX were chosen by NASA to create new spacecraft and acquire seats for its crew once they began flying.

Starliner has an Apollo-like design with conical sides, which keeps the capsule stable as it plummets into the Earth’s atmosphere at tremendous speeds. It does, however, have more autonomy than either the Apollo or shuttle spacecraft. Boeing’s vehicle travels to the International Space Station and docks with little to no assistance from astronauts.nIt’s also made to be more secure. Unlike the space shuttle, Starliner contains an emergency escape system that may transport the crew away from the rocket in the event of a launch emergency.

“The vehicle is made up of two primary sections that are connected from launch to shortly before re-entry:
•A crew module is a spacecraft that carries humans on board.
•A service module provides power and propulsion.
Furthermore, NASA missions will carry four to five passengers every flight, with seats swapped for additional cargo storage. If the fifth seat becomes available, Boeing has the option of selling it to a space tourist or transporting a foreign astronaut.”