Starliner arrives at launch facility ahead of test flight to space station

Spacecraft connected to rocket Saturday

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft arrives at Florida launch facility ahead of test flight to space station. (Image: Boeing) (2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft was secured to the Atlas V rocket Saturday morning ahead of its test flight to the International Space Station targeted for later this month.

Starliner was designed and built under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

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The spacecraft was transported from the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility Kennedy Space Center to the United Launch Alliance’s Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station early Saturday morning, according to Boeing.

“Seeing the Starliner atop the Atlas V just days away from launch is symbolic of how proud our team feels about executing this mission,” said John Vollmer, vice president and program manager, Boeing Commercial Crew Program. “OFT-2 is a critical milestone on our path to crewed flights, and we’re all ready to see our hard work come to life with a successful mission from beginning to end.”

The company and NASA recently used software to run a simulation of the orbital test flight-2, known as OFT-2, over a period of five days. The result was a successful docking at the ISS and bull’s-eye landing in New Mexico.

The actual mission will test the spacecraft’s abilities to “autonomously dock with the space station and deliver approximately 440 pounds, or roughly 200 kilograms, of cargo and crew supplies for NASA,” according to a release. It will then spend five to 10 days in orbit before undocking and coming back to Earth where it will land in the western U.S.

Boeing first conducted the orbital flight test in December 2019 but after launching on the ULA Atlas V rocket, the spacecraft was forced to return to Earth instead of docking at the ISS.

The targeted launch date is July 30 at 2:53 p.m.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.