Coverage Set for NASA’s Boeing OFT-2 Launch Activities

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is secured atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex-41 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on July 17, 2021. Starliner will launch on the Atlas V for Boeing’s second Orbital Flight Test (OFT-2) for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The spacecraft rolled out from Boeing’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center earlier in the day.
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is secured atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex-41 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on July 17, 2021. Starliner will launch on the Atlas V for Boeing’s second Orbital Flight Test (OFT-2) for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The spacecraft rolled out from Boeing’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center earlier in the day. Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch, launch, and docking activities for the agency’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission to the International Space Station. Scheduled to launch at 2:53 p.m. EDT Friday, July 30, OFT-2 is the second uncrewed flight for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

Starliner will launch on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. About 31 minutes after launch, Starliner will reach its preliminary orbit. It is scheduled to dock to the space station at 3:06 p.m. Saturday, July 31. Prelaunch activities, launch, and docking will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

The spacecraft will carry more than 400 pounds of NASA cargo and crew supplies to the space station and return to Earth with more than 550 pounds of cargo, including reusable Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System (NORS) tanks that provide breathable air to station crew members.

OFT-2 will demonstrate the end-to-end capabilities of the Starliner spacecraft and Atlas V rocket from launch to docking to a return to Earth in the desert of the western United States. The uncrewed mission will provide valuable data toward NASA certifying Boeing’s crew transportation system for regular flights with astronauts to and from the space station.

For a complete list of NASA’s Boeing OFT-2 briefings, events, and participants, read the full media advisory.

Starliner, Atlas V Assembled at Launch Site for Next Commercial Crew Flight Test

Atlas V, Starliner in VIF
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is secured atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex-41 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on July 17, 2021. Photo credit: Boeing/Damon Tucci

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is fully assembled on its ride to space, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket, in preparation for the 2:53 p.m. Friday, July 30, launch of its second Orbital Flight Test (OFT-2) in collaboration with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

The joining of Atlas V and Starliner is a major milestone ahead of the second uncrewed flight test to demonstrate the system’s human transportation capabilities to the International Space Station. The test is the last flight before the Starliner system launches American astronauts on the Crew Flight Test to the microgravity laboratory – the first flight test with crew on board.

Starliner leaves C3PF
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft rolls out from the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 17, 2021. Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

Early Saturday, the capsule traveled from Boeing’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility (C3PF) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to ULA’s Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station for hoisting on top of the Atlas V.

ULA’s motorized payload transporter, adapted to carry Starliner, moved at a top speed of 5 mph, heading from the C3PF, a former space shuttle hangar, eastward to the beach and then southward to Space Launch Complex-41. During the transport, Starliner was provided environmental controls also on the transporter deck.

Approaching the VIF, the transporter maneuvered up to the 30-story-tall building’s doorway and parked. A four-point lifting sling, called the Handling Fixture Hoist Tool, was connected to the Starliner for the overhead crane to carefully raise the capsule onto the Atlas V waiting inside the VIF aboard its mobile launch platform.

Starliner was positioned for mating to the launch vehicle adapter that serves as the spacecraft’s cradle on the rocket during ascent. The adapter also features the aeroskirt structure that smooths the air over the combined payload and Atlas V for aerodynamic stability.

Accommodations for Starliner in the VIF include a clean enclosure to enter the capsule’s crew module through the hatchway, access stands for technicians to detach the lift sling and complete preflight work to the spacecraft’s exterior, as well as power and data transmission umbilicals and purge and cooling lines.

Next up is the integrated systems test, a tip-to-tail electrical check of the 172-foot-tall Atlas V and Starliner stack.

OFT-2 will launch Starliner on a mission to rendezvous and dock to the International Space Station and then return about five to 10 days later to land in the western United States. The mission is an end-to-end test flight to prove the system is ready to fly astronauts.

More details about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Rosie the Rocketeer Buckles In for Upcoming Starliner Launch

Rosie the Rocketeer, Boeing’s anthropometric test device, claimed her spot once again in the commander’s seat inside the company’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft for its second uncrewed Orbital Flight Test (OFT-2) for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Rosie the Rocketeer, Boeing’s anthropometric test device, claimed her spot once again in the commander’s seat inside the company’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft for its second uncrewed Orbital Flight Test (OFT-2) for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Photo credit: Boeing

Rosie the Rocketeer, Boeing’s anthropometric test device, claimed her spot once again in the commander’s seat inside the company’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft for its second uncrewed Orbital Flight Test (OFT-2) for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

During OFT-1, Rosie was outfitted with 15 sensors to collect data on what astronauts will experience during flights on Starliner. For OFT-2, spacecraft data capture ports previously connected to Rosie’s 15 sensors will be used to collect data from sensors placed along the seat pallet, which is the infrastructure that holds all the crew seats in place.

OFT-2 is scheduled to lift off at 2:53 p.m. ET Friday, July 30, from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida bound for the International Space Station. Starliner is expected to spend five to 10 days in orbit before undocking and returning to Earth, touching down on land in the western United States.

Learn more about Rosie the Rocketeer.

More details about NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

NASA and Boeing Progress Toward July Launch of Second Starliner Flight Test

The Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to be flown on Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) is seen in the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 2. Part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, OFT-2 is a critical developmental milestone on the company’s path to fly crew missions for NASA.
The Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to be flown on Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) is seen in the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 2. Part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, OFT-2 is a critical developmental milestone on the company’s path to fly crew missions for NASA. Photo credit: Boeing

NASA and Boeing are continuing preparations ahead of Starliner’s second uncrewed flight to prove the system can safely carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

Teams inside the Starliner production factory at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida recently began fueling the Starliner crew module and service module in preparation for launch of Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) at 2:53 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 30. The fueling operations are expected to complete this week as teams load propellant inside the facility’s Hazardous Processing Area and perform final spacecraft checks.

In the weeks ahead, mission control teams in Florida and Texas will continue conducting simulated mission dress rehearsals for the uncrewed OFT-2 and follow-on crewed missions. Starliner’s landing and recovery teams also will perform an on-site checkout of one of the vehicle’s landing zones.

Read the full story here.

NASA, SpaceX Officials Thrilled With Crew-2 Launch Success

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off at 5:49 a.m. EDT from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 23, 2021, carrying the company’s Crew Dragon Endeavour.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off at 5:49 a.m. EDT from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 23, 2021, carrying the company’s Crew Dragon Endeavour. Onboard the capsule are NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, spacecraft commander; NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, pilot; ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, mission specialist; and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, mission specialist. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission crew will dock to the Harmony module’s forward-facing international docking adapter of the International Space Station on Saturday, April 24, at 5:10 a.m. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Liftoff of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with Crew Dragon atop, lit up the early morning sky at 5:49 a.m. today, April 23, as it lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Crew-2 astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA, Akihiko Hoshide of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) are now on their way to the International Space Station aboard Crew Dragon.

The four crew members are now a few hours into their 23.5-hour trip. The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, will dock autonomously to the forward port of the station’s Harmony module about 5:10 a.m. Saturday, April 24.

“It has been an incredible year for NASA and our Commercial Crew Program, with three crewed launches to the space station since last May,” said NASA Acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk. “This is another important milestone for NASA, SpaceX, and our international partners at ESA and JAXA, and for the future of scientific research on board the ISS. It will be an exciting moment to see our crews greet one another on station for our first crew handover under the Commercial Crew Program.”

The Crew-2 mission is the second of six crewed missions NASA and SpaceX will fly as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. This mission has several firsts, including:

  • First commercial crew mission to fly two international partners;
  • First commercial crew handover between astronauts on the space station as Crew-1 and Crew-2 astronauts will spend about five days together on station before Crew-1 returns to Earth;
  • First reuse of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket on a crew mission –Crew Dragon Endeavour flew the historic Demo-2 mission and the Falcon 9 flew astronauts on the Crew-1 mission; and,
  • First time two commercial crew spacecraft will be docked to station at the same time.

“When I see a launch, I immediately think of what it took to reach this milestone and the dedication of all the people who made it happen,” said Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “There’s obviously a long way to go, but now we can celebrate the Crew-2 launch and look forward to seeing them join their other Expedition 65 colleagues as we prepare to bring Crew-1 home next week.”

Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide, and Pesquet will join the Expedition 65 crew of Shannon Walker, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Mark Vande Hei of NASA, as well as Soichi Noguchi of JAXA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov. For a short time, the number of crew on the space station will increase to 11 people until Crew-1 astronauts Walker, Hopkins, Glover, and Noguchi return to Earth a few days later.

The Crew-2 members will conduct science and maintenance during a six-month stay aboard the orbiting laboratory and will return no earlier than Oct. 31. Adding more crew members aboard the microgravity laboratory increases the time available for scientific activities. The November 2020 arrival of the Crew-1 astronauts more than doubled crew hours spent on scientific research and support activities, and Crew-2 will continue the important investigations and technology demonstrations that are preparing for future Artemis missions to the Moon, helping us improve our understanding of Earth’s climate, and improving life on our home planet.

Tune in to NASA Television or the agency’s website for continuous comprehensive coverage of the Crew-2 mission, including docking at the space station on Saturday, April 24, at approximately 5:10 a.m. EDT.

A welcome ceremony from the International Space Station will take place Saturday, April 24, at 7:45 a.m. EDT, with the following participants:

  • Steve Jurczyk, acting NASA administrator
  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Hiroshi Yamakawa, president, JAXA
  • Josef Aschbacher, director general, ESA

Follow along with mission activities and get more information at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @Commercial_Crew@space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew FacebookISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew Dragon Reaches Orbit, News Conference at 7:30 a.m. EDT

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew-2 Dragon lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at 5:49 a.m. EDT on April 23, 2021,
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew-2 Dragon lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at 5:49 a.m. EDT on April 23, 2021, Photo credit: NASA

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying Crew-2 mission astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet on their way to the International Space Station has safely reached orbit, and the nosecone has been opened.

A postlaunch news conference will be held at approximately 7:30 a.m. EDT at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with the following participants:

  • Steve Jurczyk, acting NASA administrator
  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Hiroshi Sasaki, vice president and director general, JAXA’s Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate
  • Frank de Winne, manager, International Space Station Program, ESA
  • SpaceX representative

NASA Television and the agency’s website will air the news conference. Mission commentary will switch to NASA TV’s Media Channel.

Follow along and get more information about the mission at: http://www.nasa.gov/crew-2. Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @Commercial_Crew, @space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew Facebook, ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Separation Confirmed! Crew Dragon Leaves Behind Second Stage

Crew Dragon Endeavour has separated from the second stage and is flying on its own. The spacecraft is traveling at approximately 17,000 miles per hour. About one minute later the dragon nosecone open sequence will begin.

Stage 1 Successfully Lands on Drone Ship

Stage 1 of the Falcon 9 rocket completed its descent and landed on SpaceX’s drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.