Boeing is ready to launch its Starliner spacecraft on an important uncrewed flight to the International Space Station subsequent week. Here’s how one can watch the weeklong Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2) mission dwell.
The predominant present is the launch itself, which can stream on NASA Television, the NASA app, the company’s web site and right here at Space.com. The liftoff atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is scheduled for 2:53 p.m. EDT (1853 GMT) subsequent Friday (July 30) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. You’ll have the ability to watch the launch and mission actions right here and on Space.com’s homepage, in addition to on NASA TV.
If all goes to plan, Starliner will take about 31 minutes to achieve its preliminary orbit after which will goal a docking the following day with the International Space Station. Starliner tried this meetup as soon as earlier than, on the OFT-1 mission in December 2019, however suffered a series of technical issues that left the capsule stranded within the unsuitable orbit for a rendezvous.
The OFT-2 docking is scheduled for 3:06 p.m. EDT (1906 GMT) on Saturday (July 31) and also will livestream on NASA’s channels and the Space.com web site. Starliner will carry 400 lbs. (181 kilogram) of NASA cargo and crew provides to the orbiting advanced and return to Earth with greater than 550 lbs. (250 kg) of cargo, the company said in a statement.
The date of Starliner’s departure from the space station has not but been scheduled, however the OFT-2 mission is anticipated to final a few week. See beneath for an in depth timeline of media occasions within the leadup to the mission and its first few days.
“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,” NASA mentioned in the identical assertion. “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.”
Boeing is one among two industrial crew suppliers for the International Space Station, together with SpaceX, which has been utilizing its Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket for operational actions since 2020. SpaceX and Boeing obtained NASA contracts in 2014 valued at a mixed $6.8 billion to encourage the event of crewed spaceships meant to exchange the space shuttle, which retired in 2011. Boeing is anticipated to begin sending astronauts to space in 2022, offered all goes properly with OFT-2.
After the shuttle retired, NASA relied on Russian Soyuz spacecraft as the only astronaut taxi for 9 years, between 2011 and 2020. The company continues to procure seats on Soyuz to fill ISS necessities in Starliner’s absence. The company pledged it’s going to proceed to commerce seats with the Russians — placing Americans on the Soyuz and Russians on American automobiles – however this association may be delayed till no less than 2022.
In the meantime, right here is the complete protection of dwell NASA prelaunch and launch actions for OFT-2. All instances are approximate and will change because of technical or climate concerns.
Tuesday, July 27
TBD – Prelaunch information convention on NASA Television, roughly one hour after the launch readiness assessment is full. Scheduled contributors are:
- Steve Stich, NASA supervisor of the industrial crew program;
- Joel Montalbano, NASA supervisor of the International Space Station program;
- Jennifer Buchli, NASA deputy chief scientist of the International Space Station program;
- John Vollmer, Boeing industrial crew program vp and program supervisor;
- Gary Wentz, ULA’s vp of presidency and industrial applications;
- Will Ulrich, U.S. Space Force launch climate workplace for forty fifth Weather Squadron.
Thursday, July 29
10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) – NASA administrator briefing with the next scheduled contributors:
- NASA Administrator Bill Nelson;
- NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy;
- Janet Petro, director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center;
- Chris Ferguson, Boeing’s director of Starliner mission operations and integration/crew methods;
- Barry “Butch” Wilmore, NASA astronaut on Starliner’s first crewed mission (Crew Flight Test)
- Michael “Mike” Fincke, NASA astronaut on Crew Flight Test;
- Nicole Mann, NASA astronaut on Crew Flight Test;
- Jennifer Buchli, NASA deputy chief scientist of the International Space Station program.
Friday, July 30
2 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT) – NASA TV launch protection begins.
2:53 p.m. EDT (1653 GMT) (roughly) – Starliner OFT-2 lifts off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
3:24 p.m. EDT (1724 GMT) (roughly) – Starliner OFT-2 reaches its preliminary orbit.
4 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) (roughly) – Postlaunch information convention on NASA TV with representatives from NASA, Boeing and ULA. Participants have but to be introduced.
Saturday, July 31
12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT) – NASA TV rendezvous and docking protection begins.
3:06 p.m. EDT (1906 GMT) (roughly) – Livestreamed docking of Starliner on the International Space Station.
Sunday, Aug. 1
9:15 a.m. EDT (1315 GMT) – NASA TV hatch opening and welcoming remarks protection begins.
9:35 a.m. EDT (1335 GMT) (roughly) – Hatch opening and welcoming remarks.
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.