NASA, Boeing Update Starliner Orbital Flight Test Date

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft
NASA and Boeing teams are adjusting the launch date of Orbital Flight Test-2 to allow more time for CST-100 Starliner spacecraft and hardware processing. Photo credit: Boeing/John Proferes

NASA and Boeing now are targeting no earlier than Friday, April 2, for launch of the agency’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 to the International Space Station.

As preparations continue for the second uncrewed flight test, teams remain focused on the safety and quality of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft and successful launch of the end-to-end test to prove the system is ready to begin flying astronauts to and from the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Teams are adjusting the launch date to allow more time for spacecraft and hardware processing. Ahead of final propellant loading, the company recently replaced avionics units affected as a result of a power surge due to a ground support equipment configuration issue during final checkouts.

“NASA continues to work alongside Boeing to prepare for this first mission of 2021,” said Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “The Boeing and NASA teamwork on all aspects of flight preparation including final certification, hazard analysis, and software testing is extraordinary. Even though this uncrewed flight test to the International Space Station is a key milestone on the path to the first Starliner crewed mission planned for later this year, we will fly when we are ready.”

With formal software tests completed, Boeing is continuing with flight preparations. The company is ready to conduct an end-to-end mission rehearsal, using high-fidelity flight hardware and final flight software, to ensure the readiness of the team and combined systems.

Boeing continues to support NASA as it reviews flight readiness, and teams have completed about 95% of the recommendations identified by the joint NASA and Boeing Independent Review Team, formed following the anomalies during the company’s first uncrewed Orbital Flight Test in December 2019.

“We appreciate the significant work NASA is undertaking ahead of launch,” said John Vollmer, Starliner’s vice president and program manager at Boeing. “We’re fully engaged in the agency’s review process as a valuable investment of our time to ensure confidence in the spacecraft.”

Media Invited to Cover Prelaunch and Launch Activities for Boeing’s OFT-2

Boeing Starliner is lifted inside processing facility
Boeing’s Starliner crew module for the company’s second Orbital Flight Test (OFT-2) is lifted Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida prior to the vehicle having a weight and center of gravity test. Photo credit: Boeing/John Grant

Media accreditation now is open for prelaunch and launch activities for NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission to the International Space Station. Part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, NASA and Boeing are targeting no earlier than Thursday, March 25, for the second uncrewed launch of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft.

Starliner is scheduled to launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The mission will test the end-to-end capabilities of Starliner and the Atlas V rocket from launch to docking to a return to Earth in the desert of the western United States.

Following a successful completion of the OFT-2 mission, NASA and Boeing are targeting no earlier than September 2021  for Starliner’s first flight with astronauts on board – NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT).

In addition to applying to cover launch, media may also separately apply for a photo opportunity of Starliner rolling out of Boeing’s Commercial Cargo and Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, March 10, ahead of the OFT-2 mission.

View the full release for accreditation deadlines and to submit your request.

Boeing’s Starliner Makes Progress Ahead of Flight Test with Astronauts

NASA astronauts Nicole Mann, left, Mike Fincke, and Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson, right
NASA astronauts Nicole Mann, left, Mike Fincke, and Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson, right, pose for a photograph on Sept. 11, 2019, as they, along with teams from NASA, Boeing and the White Sands Missile Range, rehearse landing and crew extraction from Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner. Photo credit: Boeing

NASA and Boeing continue to make progress toward the company’s second uncrewed flight test of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft prior to flying astronauts to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

The Commercial Crew Program currently is targeting no earlier than December 2020 for launch of the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) pending hardware readiness, flight software qualification, and launch vehicle and space station manifest priorities.

Over the summer, Boeing’s Starliner team focused on readying the next spacecraft for its upcoming flight tests as well as making improvements identified during various review processes throughout the beginning of the year. NASA also announced an additional crew assignment for its first operational mission, NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1, with astronauts to the space station.

Click here to read the full story.

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.

Atlas V and Boeing CST-100 Starliner Ready for Launch

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, topped by Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, stands on the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Dec. 18, 2019, after rolling from the Vertical Integration Facility.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, topped by Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, stands on the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Dec. 18, 2019, after rolling from the Vertical Integration Facility. Boeing’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test will be the Starliner’s first flight to the International Space Station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Photo credit: Frank Michaux

Good morning from the NASA News Center at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It’s launch day for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, with Starliner atop, are poised on the launch pad at nearby Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Starliner will make its inaugural flight to the International Space Station, called Orbital Flight Test, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Liftoff is scheduled for 6:36 a.m. EST during an instantaneous launch window.

Fueling of the Atlas V rocket began at about 12:30 a.m. today. The first stage booster’s RD-180 engine, containing two thrust chambers, was fueled with Rocket Propellant-1 (RP-1), or highly purified kerosene. The Centaur second stage was fueled with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Fueling of the rocket was completed about two hours later.

Stay tuned for coverage of the countdown events and launch. Watch the coverage live on NASA TV. More details about the mission and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found in the online press kit and by following the @commercial_crew on Twitter and commercial crew on Facebook.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron continue to predict an 80% chance of favorable weather for launch early this morning. Primary concerns for launch day are the Cumulus Cloud Rule and User Ground Winds violations during the instantaneous launch window.

Tune in for Launch Coverage of Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test

The crew access arm is seen after being moved into position for Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 ahead of the Orbital Flight Test mission, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The crew access arm is seen after being moved into position for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 ahead of the Orbital Flight Test mission, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Orbital Flight Test with be Starliner’s maiden mission to the International Space Station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The mission, currently targeted for a 6:36 a.m. EST launch on Dec. 20, will serve as an end-to-end test of the system’s capabilities. Photo Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Liftoff of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, is targeted for 6:36 a.m. EST Friday, Dec. 20 from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This uncrewed mission, known as Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test, is Starliner’s maiden flight to the International Space Station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The main objective of the mission is an end-to-end demonstration of Boeing’s ability to launch astronauts to the orbiting laboratory and return them home. To learn more, read the prelaunch feature.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron continue to predict an 80% chance of favorable weather for launch on Friday morning. Primary concerns for launch day are the Cumulus Cloud Rule and User Ground Winds violations during the instantaneous launch window.

Join us at 5:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 20, for countdown coverage on the Commercial Crew blog and NASA TV.

NASA will host an Administrator Post-launch News Conference at 9 a.m. followed by a Launch Team News Conference at 9:30 a.m., both on NASA TV.

Mission Timeline (all times approximate)
Hour/Min/Sec            Events
-06:00:00                   Atlas V fueling commences
-04:05:00                   Atlas V fueling is complete
-04:04:00                   T-4 minute built-in hold begins
-01:25:00                    Hatch closure complete
-01:15:00                     Prelaunch cabin leak checks
-01:05:00                    Cabin pressurization complete
-00:20:00                   Launch Conductor conducts terminal count briefing
-00:18:00                    CST-100 poll for terminal count
-00:15:00                    CST-100 to internal power
-00:10:00                    Crew Access Arm retracted
-00:08:00                   Launch vehicle poll for terminal count
-00:04:45                   Starliner configured for terminal count
-00:04:00                   T-4 minute built-in hold releases
-00:01:00                   CST-100 is configured for launch
-00:00:03                   RD-180 engine ignition

Launch, Landing and CST-100 Deployment (all times approximate)
Hour/Min/Sec          Events
+00:00:01                  Liftoff
+00:00:06                 Begin pitch/yaw maneuver
+00:00:41                  Maximum dynamic pressure
+00:01:05                  Mach 1
+00:02:22                  SRB jettison
+00:04:29                 Atlas booster engine cutoff (BECO)
+00:04:35                 Atlas Centaur separation
+00:04:41                 Ascent cover jettison
+00:04:45                Centaur first main engine start (MES-1)
+00:05:05                Aeroskirt jettison
+00:11:54                 Centaur first main engine cutoff (MECO-1)

Starliner Ready for its Inaugural Flight

The Atlas V rocket with Boeing's CST-100 Starliner atop are at the pad at Space Launch Complex 41.
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket rolled out of the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Dec. 18, 2019. Photo credit: ULA

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket rolled out of the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 earlier today. Starliner now stands poised at the launch pad awaiting its maiden flight on Boeing’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Liftoff is scheduled for 6:36 a.m. EST Friday, Dec. 20. The flight test will provide valuable data on the end-to-end performance of the Atlas V rocket, Starliner spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking, and landing operations. The data will be used as part of NASA’s process of certifying Boeing’s crew transportation system for carrying astronauts to and from the space station.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron continue to predict an 80% chance of favorable weather for launch on Friday morning. Primary concerns for launch day are the Cumulus Cloud Rule and User Ground Winds violations during the instantaneous launch window.

Launch Readiness Review Complete, Boeing Orbital Flight Test ‘Go’ for Launch

Wet dress rehearsal for OFT
The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, topped by the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, stands on the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Friday, Dec. 6, during a wet dress rehearsal for Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test. Image credit: NASA

Teams from NASA, Boeing and United Launch Alliance are “go” for a launch following today’s launch readiness review ahead of the Orbital Flight Test mission to the International Space Station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Launch is scheduled for 6:36 a.m. EST Friday, Dec. 20, from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing continue to predict an 80% chance of favorable weather with the primary concerns for launch day are the Cumulus Cloud Rule and User Ground Winds violations during the instantaneous launch window.

At 2 p.m., NASA will host a prelaunch news briefing at Kennedy Space Center. Participants are:

  • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
  • Joel Montalbano, deputy manager, International Space Station Program
  • John Mulholland, vice president and program manager, Boeing Commercial Crew Program
  • John Elbon, chief operating officer, United Launch Alliance
  • Pat Forrester, astronaut office chief, Johnson Space Center
  • Will Ulrich, launch weather officer, 45th Weather Squadron

Televised Prelaunch Briefing Set for Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft sits atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida on Dec. 5, 2019, for the program’s first-ever Integrated Day of Launch Test the following day.
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft sits atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida on Dec. 5, 2019, for the program’s first-ever Integrated Day of Launch Test the following day. Photo credit: NASA/Frank Michaux

NASA will hold a prelaunch briefing on Tuesday, Dec. 17, no earlier than 2 p.m. EST, following the completion of the Launch Readiness Review for Boeing’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Briefing participants are:

  • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
  • Joel Montalbano, deputy manager, International Space Station Program
  • John Mulholland, vice president and program manager, Boeing Commercial Crew Program
  • John Elbon, chief operating officer, United Launch Alliance
  • Pat Forrester, astronaut office chief, Johnson Space Center
  • Will Ulrich, launch weather officer, 45th Weather Squadron

Watch the briefing live on NASA TV. More details about the mission and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found in the online press kit and by following the @commercial_crew on Twitter and commercial crew on Facebook.

View all of the prelaunch briefings and events at https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-boeing-oft-briefings-events-and-broadcasts.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron predict an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for launch on Friday morning, with the possibility of cumulus clouds posing the main concern.

Boeing and NASA Approach Milestone Orbital Flight Test

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, topped by the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, stand on Space Launch Complex 41 at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Dec. 4, 2019.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, topped by the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, stand on Space Launch Complex 41 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Dec. 4, 2019. The vehicle was in place on the launch pad for Boeing’s wet dress rehearsal ahead of the upcoming Orbital Flight Test, an uncrewed mission to the International Space Station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Photo credit: Boeing

When Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test (OFT) launches on Dec. 20, 2019, it will be a major step toward returning human spaceflight capability to the U.S.

The uncrewed mission for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program will rendezvous and dock Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft with the International Space Station and return to Earth on Dec. 28. Starliner will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

“This test flight will give us valuable data about Starliner’s performance in the actual environment through each phase of flight and demonstrate its capability to transport crew to the space station and bring them home safely,” said Trip Healey, NASA’s mission manager for OFT. “Being on the cusp of this huge moment in history is really exciting.”

Data from the mission will validate spacecraft system performance and will move Starliner farther down the path toward its first flight with astronauts aboard — Boeing’s Crew Flight Test (CFT).

NASA astronauts Michael Fincke and Nicole Mann and Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson will be onboard Starliner for CFT. All three were on hand when the spacecraft for this flight test rolled out of Boeing’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 21, making the roughly six mile trek on a transport vehicle to SLC-41 to be mated atop the Atlas V rocket.

Read the full story at https://www.nasa.gov/feature/boeing-and-nasa-approach-milestone-orbital-flight-test.