Boeing Starliner Orbital Flight Test Update

A two-stage United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida for Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test, Dec. 20, 2019. Liftoff occurred at 6:36 a.m. EST. The uncrewed Orbital Flight Test is the Starliner’s first flight to the International Space Station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
A two-stage United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida for Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test, Dec. 20, 2019. Liftoff occurred at 6:36 a.m. EST. The uncrewed Orbital Flight Test is the Starliner’s first flight to the International Space Station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Photo credit: NASA/Glenn Benson

After a successful launch at 6:36 a.m. EST Friday on the ULA Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner is an unplanned, but stable orbit. The team is assessing what test objectives can be achieved before a safe return of the spacecraft to land in White Sands, New Mexico. NASA and Boeing officials held a post-launch news conference Friday morning.

Boeing Starliner Update

Despite launching successfully at 6:36 a.m. EST Friday on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner is not in its planned orbit. The spacecraft currently is in a stable configuration while flight controllers are troubleshooting.

 

Boeing’s Starliner Separates from Atlas V Centaur

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner has separated from the Atlas V Centaur and is flying on its own, embarking on its inaugural flight to the International Space Station. The Atlas Centaur will fall back to Earth and impact the ocean near Australia. After a series of orbital adjustments, Starliner will be on course for rendezvous and docking with the space station at 5 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21.

Liftoff! Atlas V Clears the Launch Pad with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner Spacecraft

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft atop lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Dec. 20, 2019. Liftoff time was 6:36 a.m. EST.
The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft atop lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Dec. 20, 2019. Liftoff time was 6:36 a.m. EST. Photo credit: NASA

Booster ignition and liftoff of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 6:36 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The rocket is on its way, carrying Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on its Orbital Flight Test to the International Space Station. About one minute after launch, the Atlas V rocket will achieve Mach 1. The Atlas V solid rocket boosters will jettison nearly two-and-a-half minutes into the flight.

About two-and-a-half minutes into flight, a series of key events will begin to occur over the next few minutes. The Atlas V solid rocket boosters will fall away shortly after launch. The Atlas first-stage booster engine will cut off, followed by separation from the dual-engine Centaur second stage. The Centaur first main engine will start, following by aeroskirt jettison. A few minutes later the Centaur engine will cut off.

The Launch Team is “Go” for Launch, T-4 Minute Hold Complete

Launch conductors have completed their polls of the launch teams. The T-4 minute built-in hold has been released and the countdown has resumed. The Starliner spacecraft has been configured for terminal count. Three seconds before launch, the Atlas V booster’s RD-180 engine will ignite.

Weather Remains Good for Launch of Atlas V and Boeing CST-100 Starliner

The latest weather update remains favorable for launch. Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron predict a 90% chance of favorable weather for launch this morning. Primary concerns are a chance of violation due to ground winds, but those winds currently are well within limits.