Next CST-100 Starliner test set for the end of July
Boeing and NASA recently announced a date for the second uncrewed Orbital Flight Test of the company’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft.
Liftoff atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V N22 rocket is currently slated for 2:53 p.m. EDT (18:53 UTC) July 30, 2021, from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, the mission should see Starliner fly to the International Space Station for a multi-day stay aboard the orbiting outpost.
The targeted launch date accommodates the station’s vehicle docking schedule, availability of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket and NASA’s tests, review, specifications and qualifications after a series of glitches prevented OFT-1 from reaching the International Space Station in December 2019, prompting an early landing in New Mexico.
Boeing released a statement April 6, 2020, that it would repeat its test flight of the Starliner space capsule after coding errors prevented the craft from reaching the International Space Station.
“Flying another uncrewed flight will allow us to complete all flight test objectives and evaluate the performance of the second Starliner vehicle at no cost to the taxpayer.” said
Boeing Space after the initial flight test.
According to NASA, testing of Starliner’s flight software was completed in a five-day simulated OFT-2 flight to the ISS as a part of its comprehensive review before the new launch date.
“NASA and Boeing have done an incredible amount of work to get to this point,” said Steve Stich, Commercial Crew Program manager, in a NASA news release. “Our teams are ready for this important mission due to the coordinated efforts of many, including United Launch Alliance, NASA’s Launch Services Program, and the U.S. Space Force, which enabled us to establish this launch opportunity. We are looking forward to a successful OFT-2 mission.”
In-cabin views of the first uncrewed Orbital Test Flight in December 2019. Video courtesy of Boeing
Theresa Cross grew up on the Space Coast. It’s only natural that she would develop a passion for anything “Space” and its exploration. During these formative years, she also discovered that she possessed a talent and love for defining the unique quirks and intricacies that exist in mankind, nature, and machines. Hailing from a family of photographers—including her father and her son, Theresa herself started documenting her world through pictures at a very early age. As an adult, she now exhibits an innate photographic ability to combine what appeals to her heart and her love of technology to deliver a diversified approach to her work and artistic presentations. Theresa has a background in water chemistry, fluid dynamics, and industrial utility.