Atlas V and Boeing Starliner Remain “Go” for Launch

On May 18, 2022, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft and the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket roll out from the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
On May 18, 2022, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft and the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket roll out from the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner atop remain “Go” for launch from Space Launch Complex-41 at the Cape. Starliner’s destination is the International Space Station on its second flight for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Teams Cleared the White Room at the Launch Pad

Boeing close-out specialists secure the hatch on the Boeing CST-100 Starliner at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on May 19, 2022, ahead of launch.
Boeing close-out specialists secure the hatch on the Boeing CST-100 Starliner at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on May 19, 2022, ahead of launch. Photo credit: NASA

The combined White Room Crew of Boeing and United Launch Alliance have closed and secured the white room, performed cabin leak checks of the CST-100 Starliner and cleared the white room. The team has cleared the crew access tower and driven to a safe distance from the launch pad.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron now predict a 90% chance of favorable weather for launch this afternoon.

NASA TV is Live for NASA’s Boeing OFT-2 Launch

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is seen on the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 ahead of the Orbital Flight Test-2 mission. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is seen on the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 ahead of the Orbital Flight Test-2 mission. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky.

Launch preparations are proceeding toward a liftoff of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on a flight test to the International Space Station at 6:54 p.m. on Thursday, May 19.

Watch on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Known as Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2), this is the second uncrewed flight for Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. 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 mission will provide valuable data toward NASA certifying Boeing’s crew transportation system for regular flights with astronauts to and from the space station.

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


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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The Atlas V Rocket for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner Launch

United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket that will launch Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner to the International Space Station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program was modified specifically for the agency’s Orbital Flight Test-2. This rocket configuration does not include a payload fairing. Instead, the Starliner’s own protective surfaces will take the place of the fairing to protect the uncrewed spacecraft during launch and ascent. The rocket has two solid rocket boosters (SRBs) and a dual-engine Centaur upper stage. Starliner is attached to the Atlas V using a launch vehicle adapter, which includes an aeroskirt to reduce the aerodynamic loads on the vehicle.

The Atlas V booster is 12.5 feet in diameter and 106.5 feet in length. The booster’s propulsion is provided by the RD-180 engine system, which delivers 860,200 pounds of thrust at sea level. The SRBs generate the additional power required at liftoff, with each providing 348,500 pounds of thrust.

The Centaur second stage is 10 feet in diameter and 41.5 feet in length. For this configuration, the Centaur is configured with dual RL10A-4-2 engines, each producing 22,600 pounds of thrust. The cryogenic tanks are insulated with a combination of helium-purge blankets, radiation shields, and spray-on foam insulation. The Centaur includes an Emergency Detection System that monitors for critical hazards. This system will provide critical in-flight data which supports jettison of the ascent cover and initiates CST-100 spacecraft separation.

Learn more at www.ulalaunch.com.

Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 Objectives

On May 18, 2022, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft and the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket rolled out from the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
On May 18, 2022, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft and the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket rolled out from the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 will test the end-to-end capabilities of the company’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft from launch to docking to a return to Earth in the desert of the western United States. The flight test will provide valuable data toward NASA certifying Boeing’s crew transportation system for regular crewed flights to and from the International Space Station. OFT-2 will build on the objectives achieved during Starliner’s initial flight test, including:

  • In-orbit operation of the avionics, docking system, communications and telemetry systems, environmental control systems, solar arrays and electrical power systems and propulsion systems;
  • Performance of the guidance, navigation and control systems of the Starliner and Atlas V through ascent, on-orbit, and entry;
  • Acoustic and vibration levels, and loads across the Starliner exterior and interior;
  • Launch escape trigger monitoring; and
  • Performance of the Starliner system end-to-end mission operations.

These objectives are intended to demonstrate all of Starliner’s systems and capabilities except for those requiring a human onboard to test.

For this flight, Starliner will carry more than 500 pounds of NASA cargo and crew supplies to the space station. After a successful docking, the spacecraft will spend five to 10 days aboard the orbiting laboratory before returning to Earth. The spacecraft will return with nearly 600 pounds of NASA cargo, including reusable Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System tanks that provide breathable air to station crew members.

Read more about OFT-2.

Live Coverage Begins for NASA and Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is seen after being rolled out of the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 ahead of the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission, Wednesday, May 18, 2022 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is seen after being rolled out of the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 ahead of the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission, Wednesday, May 18, 2022 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Photo Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Good afternoon from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and welcome to live launch coverage of NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) to the International Space Station, launching in a little over an hour. Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft sits atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket poised on the launch pad ready to go at nearby Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

OFT-2 is an uncrewed flight test of the company’s Starliner spacecraft for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Liftoff is scheduled for 6:54 p.m. EDT during an instantaneous launch window.

The countdown is currently proceeding according to schedule. Fueling of the Atlas V rocket began a little after noon EDT today. The first stage booster’s RD-180 engine, containing two thrust chambers, was fueled with Rocket Propellant-1, a 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 with us here for coverage as the countdown continues towards launch. Watch the coverage live on NASA TV starting at 6 p.m. EDT. More details about the flight test 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 this afternoon. The primary concerns for launch day are the cumulus and anvil cloud rules violations during the instantaneous launch window.

Station Crew Awaits Starliner Mission on Launch Day

Launch pad spotlights illuminate Boeing's Starliner crew ship atop the Atlas-V rocket from United Launch Alliance at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
Launch pad spotlights illuminate Boeing’s Starliner crew ship atop the Atlas-V rocket from United Launch Alliance at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission is counting down to a liftoff at 6:54 p.m. EDT today to begin a 24-hour trip to the International Space Station. The Expedition 67 crew focused primarily on human research and cargo operations while also preparing for the OFT-2 mission’s arrival on Friday.

Starliner will launch uncrewed atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas-V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. It will automatically dock to the Harmony module’s forward port at 7:10 p.m. EDT on Friday where it will stay for approximately five days of cargo and test operations. NASA TV begins live launch coverage on the NASA app and its website at 6 p.m. today.

On Wednesday, flight controllers notified the space station crew of the possibility of a close pass by orbital debris late Thursday, May 19 and the station executing a debris avoidance maneuver. Additional tracking data received overnight shows there is no longer concern for a close pass and no avoidance maneuver is required.

NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren spent Thursday afternoon setting up hardware and software that will help monitor the arrival of Boeing’s Starliner crew ship on the OFT-2 mission. Earlier, he conducted a pair of tests measuring his cognition and hearing levels to understand microgravity’s long-term effects on humans.

NASA astronauts Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins joined ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti conducting cargo operations inside the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter. The commercial cargo craft arrived at the station on Feb. 21 delivering 8,300 pounds of experiments and hardware. Cygnus will depart the station in mid-June loaded with trash and discarded gear for a fiery, but safe destruction above the south Pacific Ocean.

Hines and Watkins started the day collecting and stowing their blood samples for later analysis. Hines later serviced a variety of life support and research hardware. Watkins monitored her glucose level to understand the cardiovascular risk of living and working in space. Cristoforetti collected air samples to demonstrate analyzing trace atmospheric contaminants using the ANITA-2 (Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air-2) device.

Station Commander Oleg Artemyev packed the docked ISS Progress 79 crew ship with obsolete gear and checked its systems ahead of its departure in early June. Roscosmos Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov worked on Russian life support gear and panel inspections inside the Zvezda service module.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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Weather Forecast Improves for Today’s OFT-2 Launch

Boeing OFT-2 mission
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is seen on the launch pad Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Liftoff of the Orbital Flight Test-2 mission, from Space Launch Complex-41, is targeted for today at 6:54 p.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron now predict an 80% chance of favorable weather for today’s uncrewed launch of NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 6:54 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The primary weather concerns for launch day are the cumulus and anvil cloud rules violations during the instantaneous launch window.

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, will lift off from Space Launch Complex-41. Live launch coverage begins at 6 p.m. EDT on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Starliner Launching Thursday, Crew Works Science and Medical Training

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft, atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas-V rocket, arrives at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station launch pad in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas-V rocket, arrives at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station launch pad in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Boeing’s Starliner crew ship sits atop the Atlas-V rocket from United Launch Alliance counting down to its launch from Florida to the International Space Station on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Expedition 67 crew concentrated on medical training, exercise systems maintenance, and a variety of advanced space science on Wednesday.

Two NASA astronauts continued preparing for the arrival of Boeing’s uncrewed Starliner spaceship on the company’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission. Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines reviewed Starliner systems and approach and rendezvous procedures ahead of the spacecraft’s automated docking to the Harmony module’s forward port at 7:10 p.m. EDT on Friday. The uncrewed spacecraft is targeted to launch at 6:54 p.m. on Thursday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The duo will be on duty Friday monitoring Starliner during its three-and-a-half hours of automated approach maneuvers.

Lindgren started his day servicing the advanced resistive exercise device which mimics free weight exercises in microgravity. Hines collected and stowed his urine samples in a science freezer for later analysis to understand the long-term effects of weightlessness on the human body.

Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) worked on a variety of orbital plumbing tasks during Wednesday morning. Watkins also wrapped up a blood pressure measurement session and prepared the health data for downlinking to doctors on Earth. Cristoforetti trained on a computer to increase her proficiency when commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

The quartet also joined Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov, for a medical emergency training session on Wednesday. The four astronauts and three cosmonauts practiced cardiopulmonary resuscitation, reviewed medical hardware, and discussed coordination of care in the event of an emergency on the space station.

Artemyev, the commander of the orbiting lab, also tested using ultrasound sensors for more accurate Earth photography sessions. The veteran cosmonaut then studied ways to improve international coordination between space crews and mission controllers. Matveev joined Artemyev participating in the photography tests and the crew coordination study. Korsakov inventoried and stowed medical gear and also inspected and photographed windows in the Zvezda service module.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe

Orbital Flight Test-2 Starliner, Atlas V Roll to Pad, NASA Leaders to Brief Media

On May 18, 2022, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft and the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket roll out from the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
On May 18, 2022, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft and the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket roll out from the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

This morning, Wednesday, May 18, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft and the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket rolled out of the ULA Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida ahead of the uncrewed launch of NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 6:54 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 19.

For a launch Thursday, meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron continue to predict a 70% chance of favorable weather. The primary weather concerns for launch day are the cumulus and anvil cloud rules violations during the instantaneous launch window.

NASA leaders will update members of the news media on OFT-2 during a briefing on Wednesday, May 18, at 1 p.m. The briefing will air live on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. Participants include:

  • Bob Cabana, NASA associate administrator
  • Janet Petro, director, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
  • Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA
  • NASA astronaut Suni Williams
  • NASA astronaut Butch Wilmore
  • NASA astronaut Mike Fincke

NASA TV will cover the upcoming prelaunch, launch, and docking activities. Mission coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):

Thursday, May 19

6 p.m. – NASA TV launch coverage begins for a targeted 6:54 p.m. liftoff. NASA TV will have continuous coverage through Starliner orbital insertion.

9 p.m. (approximately) – Postlaunch news conference on NASA TV

Friday, May 20

3:30 p.m. – NASA TV rendezvous and docking coverage begins.

7:10 p.m. (approximately) – Docking

Friday, May 21

11:30 a.m. – NASA TV hatch opening coverage begins

11:45 a.m. – (approximately) Hatch opening and welcoming remarks

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.