We are just a week away from seeing Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft lift off from the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a crucial test flight to the International Space Station (ISS).
To create a buzz ahead of launch and to spread the word about the May 19 mission far and wide, Boeing shared a 113-second time-lapse video (below) showing the spacecraft on what appears to be the easiest journey it will ever have to make .
Footage shows the Starliner being transported from the Commercial Crew & Cargo Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center to the Vertical Integration Facility operated by the United Launch Alliance (ULA), whose Atlas V rocket will launch the Starliner into orbit next week will bring.
We sped up this timelapse for you to see #StarlinerRollout and stack in less than 2 minutes.
Watch from Starliner’s perspective as it moves from our factory to the @ulalaunch Facility for vertical integration.
Join us for the launch of Orbital Flight Test-2 on May 19th. pic.twitter.com/g2cyviU4Oa
— Boeing Space (@BoeingSpace) May 10, 2022
For people who want to see more of the spacecraft’s journey to the Atlas V rocket, Boeing also shared an unedited version of the timelapse, which lasts just over nine minutes.
Next week’s unmanned mission is hugely significant for Boeing as it follows a failed flight in December 2019 as well as a second mission hiccup last August, in which technical issues meant the Starliner couldn’t even lift off the launch pad.
Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 aims to show that the aerospace giant has solved all problems and can now safely fly to and from the space station.
Starliner is expected to dock with the ISS on May 20, about 24 hours after launch. It will be loaded with more than 500 pounds of NASA cargo and crew supplies. The spacecraft will remain docked with the ISS for between 5 and 10 days before returning to Earth for a parachute-assisted landing in New Mexico, carrying around 600 pounds of cargo.
If the mission goes according to plan, NASA will get another option for transporting astronauts and cargo to orbiting outposts alongside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. That is the ISS for the time being, but in the coming years, after the decommissioning of the ISS, other near-Earth habitable satellites are expected to become operational.
After years of development and testing, SpaceX first deployed its Dragon spacecraft in 2012 for unmanned cargo missions to the space station. Based on its experience with the Dragon, SpaceX built the Crew Dragon for astronaut flights, the first of which occurred in 2020. Here’s a recap of this historic mission in pictures.
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