Boeing’s Starliner Carried a ‘Kerbal Space Program’ Character to the ISS

After two and a half years of delays, Boeing’s Starliner capsule with the International Space Station. It was an important milestone for a company that has, at least in the popular imagination, . So it fits in with how Boeing decided it would celebrate a successful mission.

When the ISS crew opened the hatch to Starliner, they found a surprise inside the spacecraft. Floating alongside the seated Orbital Flight Test-2 test dummy was a stuffed toy depicting Jebediah Kerman, one of the four original “Kerbonauts” featured in Kerbal space program. Jeb, as he is best known for KSP community, served as a zero-gravity indicator for the flight. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin carried a small doll with him on the first human spaceflight, and since then it has become a tradition for most space crews to carry stuffed toys to make it easier to see when they have entered an environment. of microgravity. .

If you have ever played Kerbal space program, you have an idea why it was so fitting that Boeing decided to send Jeb into space. In KSP, designing spaceships that take your Kerbonauts to orbit and beyond is no easy task. Often, his initial designs will do so as they struggle to fly free of Kerbin’s gravity. But you go back to the drawing board and tweak your designs until you find one that works. In a way, that’s exactly what Boeing engineers had to do after the first Starliner test flight in 2019 failed due to a .

Boeing kept Jeb’s presence on OFT-2 a secret until the spacecraft docked with the ISS. said a company spokesman that the Starliner engineering team chose the mascot in part because of the science, technology, engineering, and math lessons KSP he has to teach the players. Jeb will spend the next few days with the ISS crew before he is placed back in the spacecraft for his journey back to Earth.

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