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22 Feb, 2020 09:05

Boeing buys parts for its spacecraft from private Russian firm

Boeing buys parts for its spacecraft from private Russian firm

A private company based in the Russian city of Voronezh produces units for Boeing’s Starliner that will allow the spacecraft to get power when docked to the International Space Spaction (ISS).

“Starliner uses a Power Converter Unit provided by Zao Orbita in Voronezh, Russia. It allows us to transfer power from Space Station to Starliner while docked,” the US aerospace giant said on Saturday, adding that the purchases are in full compliance with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

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The company added that the choice of the “flight-proven” component was based on “mission assurance and customer reliability” as it has been used for 20 years on the ISS. However, the Russia-made unit was reduced in mass and size to be compatible with the Starliner.

The statement came less than a day after Russian space agency Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin revealed that a private company in Voronezh produces some units for the landing system of the US spacecraft. However, the official did not reveal the name of the company, adding that he was “surprised” when he found out that the firm is making parts for Boeing.

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The CST-100 Starliner was developed by Boeing in collaboration with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to transport crew to the ISS. The spacecraft made its maiden voyage into space in December, but the critical test flight was marred by a software bug, and the ship failed to reach the ISS. NASA, which called the test successful despite all the mishaps, is still investigating the “anomalies” that occurred during the flight.

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