CAP CANAVERAL, Florida – After nearly two years, Boeing is preparing to repeat the orbital test flight of the Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station.
The implications for this unmanned orbital test flight are significant because the next time the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft launches three NASA astronauts will be on board and the space agency will have acquired a second commercial vehicle to purchase flights.
Starliner will be launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on Tuesday at 1:20 p.m. from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral. The current forecast shows that a 50% chance weather will cause a scrub for the instant launch window. Launch officials will need to “thread the needle” for this rocket launch, as afternoon storms in Florida are typical of this time of year.
Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test, or OFT-2, will send the spacecraft on a journey to catch up with the International Space Station. Starliner will dock autonomously, spend several days at the ISS, then undock to return to Earth and land in New Mexico. During the first OFT, the spacecraft was launched but had to return to Earth after a software glitch. This time around, Boeing officials hope to test the mission profile from start to finish, including docking.
Below, follow live updates from News 6 and ClickOrlando.com as the countdown continues:
News 6 reporter James Sparvero shares a photo of the countdown and launch pad.
Filling the #AtlasV The first stage with 48,800 gallons of super cold liquid oxygen is underway.
Filling the #AtlasV The first stage with 48,800 gallons of super cold liquid oxygen is underway. The LOX will be consumed with the RP-1 kerosene loaded into the rocket after deployment yesterday to power the main engine. pic.twitter.com/egAk3LbKOr
– ULA (@ulalaunch) August 3, 2021
“We are GO to feed the #AtlasV rocket with 66,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, ”United Launch Alliance tweets.
The Kennedy Space Center shares a live preview of the Atlas V rocket on the launch pad. Check out the livestream in the video player at the top of the story.
United Launch Alliance tweets that Launch Director Doug Lebo will interview the team to verify that all systems are ready to move to AtlasV refueling operations.
Weather permitting, there is a 50-50 chance that an Atlas V rocket carrying the Boeing Starliner spacecraft will be launched later this afternoon.
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