It’s a moment nearly ten years in the making. After receiving a formal development award on 18 April 2011 for their CST-100 crew capsule, Boeing is ready to send its Starliner spacecraft on its inaugural flight.
The uncrewed test, known as the Orbital Flight Test — or OFT — is set to launch on a modified United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, at 06:36:43 EST (11:36:43 UTC) on Friday, 20 December 2019.
If all goes well, Starliner will perform an automated docking to the International Space Station 25 hours after launch. The entire OFT mission is slated to last eight days, concluding with an early morning, nighttime landing at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on 28 December.
Starliner: Boeing’s answer to NASA’s call to move the launch of humans from the government to the commercial sector; a capsule that builds from the heritage of the U.S.’s past human spaceflight systems.
Under the terms of the international agreements, Starliner will always ferry a NASA astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut on each crew rotation flight. The remaining two seats will either be taken by NASA astronauts, a European astronaut, a ...