STORY: NASA Astronauts Bob Hines and Kjell Lindgren opened the hatch to the unmanned capsule at 12:04 p.m. EDT (1604GMT) and floated in, head-first, into the unmanned capsule, where they were greeted by “Rosie the Rocketeer” a research mannequin, dressed in a blue flight suit.
The rendezvous of the gumdrop-shaped CST-100 Starliner with the orbital research outpost, currently home to a seven-member crew, occurred nearly 26 hours after the capsule was launched from Cape Canaveral U.S. Space Force Base in Florida.
Starliner lifted off on Thursday atop an Atlas V rocket furnished by the Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture, United Launch Alliance (ULA), and reached its intended preliminary orbit 31 minutes later despite the failure of two onboard thrusters.
Boeing said the two defective thrusters posed no risk to the rest of the spaceflight, which comes after more than two years of delays and costly engineering setbacks in a program designed to give NASA another vehicle for sending its astronauts to and from orbit.
Docking with ISS took place at 8:28 p.m. EDT (0028 GMT Saturday) as the two vehicles flew 271 miles (436 km) over the south Indian Ocean off the coast of Australia, according to commentators on a live NASA webcast of the linkup.
It marked the first time spacecraft from both of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program partners were physically attached to the space station at the same time. A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule has been docked to the space station since delivering four astronauts to ISS in late April.