NASA and Boeing are making final preparations for the second unmanned test flight of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft.
During a special meeting on Wednesday, the team announced that the Starliner mission would begin on April 19.
Starliner, we’re taking off.
— Boeing Space (@BoeingSpace) May 11, 2022
“NASA and Boeing are moving forward with plans for the Unmanned Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) to the International Space Station (ISS) after spending a full day of briefings and discussions during a flight readiness review at the agency’s Kennedy Space had center in Florida”, Boeing called in an update on his website.
There’s a lot going on next week’s mission as it follows a failed attempt to send the Starliner to the ISS in December 2019 when software problems prevented the spacecraft from reaching its intended orbit. A second flight attempt in August last year also failed when technical problems prevented the launch.
Launched from Kennedy Space Center on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on the evening of May 19, the Starliner will reach the ISS about 24 hours later. It will remain docked for up to 10 days before returning to Earth in a parachute-assisted landing in New Mexico. As part of the mission, the spacecraft will carry hundreds of pounds of cargo to and from the space station.
If Boeing can prove the safety and reliability of its Starliner capsule in the upcoming test flight, NASA will have another vehicle to use for astronaut flights alongside SpaceX’s successful Crew Dragon spacecraft.
The mission is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, in which the space agency works with commercial companies to develop and fly manned space transportation systems.
“The most important step right now is to fly this orbital flight test unmanned to test key systems on Starliner, including the Rendezvous navigation system and NASA’s docking system,” Steve Stich, Commercial Crew Program Manager, said Wednesday.
Adding a positive note after the Starliner’s tricky launch, Stich added: “The hardware is ready, it’s great to see the team is on hand to fly the flight… we’re looking forward to flying, and.” Starliner is a great vehicle.”
Earlier this week, Boeing shared a time-lapse of the Starliner being stacked on the Atlas V rocket in preparation for launch next week.
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