Uncrewed Boeing OFT-1 mission now targeting Dec. 19 liftoff
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Boeing has been hoping to catch up with SpaceX in terms of demonstrating its capability of eventually sending astronauts to the International Space Station. While both companies have encountered setbacks, it looks like Boeing is going to have to wait a little longer before they catch up with the NewSpace firm.
The delay isn’t as large as some of the others Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test (OFT) Starliner spacecraft has encountered in the past – just two days. But considering SpaceX completed its first uncrewed test flight on March 2, 2019 – the aerospace giant has some catching up to do.
OFT has been set for a Dec. 17 launch, but is now targeted to blast off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) in Florida on Dec. 19, 2019. Colorado-based United Launch Alliance provided the following statement about the delay:
During pre-launch processing of the Atlas V, there was an issue with the rocket’s purge air supply duct. Additional time was needed for the ULA and Boeing teams to complete an analysis of the issue, replace the duct and complete processing ahead of launch.
Both SpaceX and Boeing are currently planning on sending the first astronauts to the space station in 2020 under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Patrick Attwell is a native of Houston, Texas but he currently resides in Austin, Texas where he studies accounting at Concordia University Texas. Atwell has had a passion for all things pertaining to aerospace, rocketry, and aviation. Atwell has worked to cover these fields for more than a decade. After he attended and watched the launch of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission it gave him what is known in the space community as “rocket fever.” Since that time, Atwell has followed his dreams and has covered events dealing with NASA’s Commercial Crew flight assignments at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and other space-related events in the Lone Star State.