After the failure of Starliner’s first uncrewed test flight back in December 2019, Boeing and NASA are finally ready to give it another go. The aerospace company is now targeting March 29, 2021, to launch Starliner’s second uncrewed flight.
During the first test flight that took place in 2019, Starliner was supposed to dock with the International Space Station (ISS). Unfortunately, due to a malfunction, the spacecraft ended up in the wrong orbit and was returned to Earth two days later. Boeing has stated that it has learned from the mistakes made during the first test and made the necessary changes to ensure they aren’t repeated.
Starliner’s second test flight goals are to launch, dock with the ISS, and return safely to the United States about a week later. Successfully completing this test will help prove that Starliner is ready to carry a crew to the ISS in the future.
The Starliner spacecraft that will be used for the upcoming test flight is nearing its final assembly at Boeing’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility. United Launch Alliance is also making significant progress on the Atlas V rocket that will launch Starliner in March. The company states that they are on track to deliver the rocket to the launch site in early 2021.
“The progress we’re making ahead of Starliner’s next flight is laying the groundwork for safe and reliable transportation services for NASA and a variety of customers for many years to come,” said John Vollmer, Starliner’s vice president and program manager at Boeing.