UPDATE: Friday’s launch has been scrubbed by NASA due to an incident at the space station. NASA has announced that the earliest launch opportunity for the Starliner mission is 1:20 p.m. ET on Tuesday, August 3.
NASA is gearing up for a crucial test flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft.
The uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission is expected to launch at 1:20 p.m. ET on Tuesday, August 3, and will involve sending Starliner on a five-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS) 250 miles above Earth. The original launch date of Friday, July 30 was scrubbed after an incident at the space station regarding a newly docked module.
The upcoming Starliner flight follows a failed attempt to send spacecraft to the ISS in December 2019, so there’s a lot riding on the upcoming mission.
An investigation into the failed flight surfaced numerous issues with Starliner’s systems that Boeing and NASA have addressed but now need to thoroughly test during OFT-2.
To make the most of the mission, Starliner will take with it supplies and cargo for the space station, and return to Earth with research samples from experiments conducted on the orbiting laboratory.
All being well, Starliner will dock with the ISS the day after launch. It’ll stay at the station for five days before returning to Earth and touching down in a parachute-assisted landing at the White Sands Space Harbor about 150 miles south of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A successful mission will take the Starliner spacecraft a big step toward its first crewed flight to the ISS as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
The program has already succeeded in returning human spaceflight missions to U.S. soil with the help of SpaceX, and crewed missions to the moon and even Mars are also on the cards.
How to watch
Starliner will launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Tuesday, August 3.
The ULA Atlas 5 rocket carrying the spacecraft is scheduled to launch at 1:20 p.m. ET (10:20 a.m. PT). You can watch the livestream by hitting the play button on the player embedded at the top of this page or by visiting NASA’s website.
Just over an hour after lift-off, NASA will conduct a news conference about the launch.
The following day, NASA will provide live coverage of Starliner’s rendezvous and docking with the space station. Details of the precise timings are yet to be revealed but we’ll update this page when we know more.
All times are subject to change according to conditions and events.
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