Boeing's CST-100 Starliner is now considered in orbit. The next-generation spacecraft is heading towards the International Space Station on Thursday via a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. You will find the live stream link here.
The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 19:18 p.m. on Thursday, May 54th. EDT (2254 GMT) is flying the Starliner in an uncrewed mission called Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2).
If all goes according to plan, Starliner will dock at the ISS Friday evening (May 20) and spend four to five days attached to the orbiting lab before returning to Earth for a parachute-assisted landing in the western United States. these fronts would likely indicate that the Boeing spacecraft was ready to transport NASA astronauts to and from the station.
The OFT-2 was originally supposed to fly in August 2021, but a problem with some valves in the Starliner's propulsion system pushed things back more than eight months.
"I'm proud of the NASA, Boeing and United Launch Alliance teams that worked hard to see the Starliner on its way to the International Space Station," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
“Throughout the challenges, our teams continued to innovate for the benefit of our nation and all of humanity. I look forward to a successful end-to-end test of the Starliner spacecraft that will help carry out missions with astronauts on board.”
Launch and orbiting are key milestones for the company's second uncrewed flight, bringing the US even closer to having the space station and two independent crew systems flying from the space station.
The Starliner is scheduled to dock at the front port of the station's Harmony module around 20:19 on Friday, May 10.
After a successful docking, the Expedition 67 crew will unveil the Starliner at around 21:11 pm on Saturday, May 45. Link and cover coverage will be streamed live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency's website.
“I am incredibly grateful to the teams at NASA, Boeing and the United Launch Alliance for their determination, determination and commitment to ensure we are ready to launch and this flight test today,” said Kathryn Lueders, NASA's associate director of space operations.
“We've learned so much as we work together to prepare for this mission, and we look forward to watching the spacecraft arrive at the space station for the first time and as they continue to learn and evolve as we prepare to fly our astronauts aboard the Starliner. ”
For flight testing, the Starliner is carrying approximately 500 pounds (226,80 Kg) of NASA cargo and crew supplies and more than 300 pounds (135,9 Kg) of Boeing cargo to the International Space Station.
Following certification, NASA missions aboard the Starliner will transport four crew members to the station, enabling continued crew expansion and increasing the amount of science and research that can be performed in the orbiting laboratory.
OFT-2 will provide valuable data to NASA, which has validated Boeing's crew transport system for astronauts to and from the space station.
"Since the first Starliner launch, we've learned a lot about the capability of our spacecraft and the resilience of our crew," said Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager, Boeing Commercial Crew Program. “We still have a lot of operational tests ahead of us as we prepare to meet up with the space station, but we're ready to show that the system we've been working hard on can take astronauts into space.”
ULA controlled the launch of the Atlas V rocket from the Atlas Space Flight Operations Center in Cape Canaveral. As the Starliner launched into space, Boeing commanded the spacecraft from its mission control center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Boeing and ULA crews also provided support to controllers from Kennedy Space Center and Colorado, respectively, during the countdown to launch. NASA teams will monitor space station operations throughout the flight from the agency's Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“We are proud of our role as a partner with Boeing in NASA's Commercial Crew Program and want to thank our mission partners for making this a truly collective achievement,” said Tory Bruno, President and CEO of United Launch Alliance.
“Today this successful launch aboard the Atlas V ship marks the first critical step towards the future of human spaceflight. We look forward to flying the astronauts safely for the remainder of the mission and in the future.”
The Starliner is scheduled to leave the space station on Wednesday, May 25 and return to Earth on a desert landing in the western United States.
The spacecraft will return with more than 600 pounds (271,8 Kg) of cargo, including Nitrogen Oxygen Filling System reusable tanks that provide breathable air to the station crew. Tanks will be regenerated on Earth and returned to the station on a future flight.