Boeing Starliner capsule secured to Atlas V rocket in preparation for Orbital Flight Test 2

Starliner Capsule secured to Atlas Rocket

Boeing’s Starliner Capsule for Orbital Flight Test 2 began its rollout from the company’s processing facility to ULA’s vertical integration facility. The capsule has been secured to the Atlas V rocket which will launch it to the International Space Station at the end of the month.

Boeing is one of two partners in NASA’s commercial crew program. The Starliner capsule will be used alongside SpaceX’s Dragon capsule to deliver crew to the International Space Station. The capsule is launched on top of a specially configured ULA Atlas V rocket with two solid rocket boosters and a duel engine Centaur upper stage.

Starliner orbital flight test

On December 20, 2019, ULA launched the Starliner Capsule into orbit for an uncrewed orbital flight test. While the Atlas V rocket did its job successfully, at 31 minutes into the flight, the Starliner capsule experienced an issue with the mission elapsed time. The issue caused too much fuel to be burned and meant the Starliner capsule was unable to dock with the Space Station. A second issue, a software bug, was discovered during the three-day flight. Boeing’s capsule landed successfully at White Sands Space Harbor, but the issues meant a second uncrewed flight test would be needed.

This second test will repeat what the first one attempted. The launch is currently scheduled to occur on July 30th. After launch, the Starliner capsule will dock with the International Space Station for between five and ten days. This uncrewed test-flight will help prove that Starliner is ready for the Crewed Test Flight.

Starliner OFT-2 capsule rollout

Credit: ULA

Early this morning, the Starliner capsule rolled out of Boeing’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility (known simply as C3PF). The transporter carrying it moved at a top speed of 5 mph as it made its way to Space Launch Complex 41. Once it reached SLC-41, the capsule was connected to the hoist and lifted onto the Atlas V.

Credit: ULA

A full check of electrical system will be completed for the entire Starliner & Atlas stack prior to launch.

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