Watch NASA launch Boeing’s Starliner space taxi on second test mission aiming for space station – GeekWire

United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket is about to launch Boeing’s Starliner CST-100 house taxi. (ULA Picture)

Two and a half years after an preliminary orbital flight check fell brief, Boeing will attempt, attempt once more to place its CST-100 Starliner house capsule by way of an uncrewed journey to the Worldwide House Station and again.

If the check is profitable, beginning with at the moment’s 6:54 p.m. ET (3:54 p.m. PT) launch from Cape Canaveral House Drive Station in Florida atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, that would open the best way for Starliner’s first crewed flight later this yr.

NASA will stream video protection of the countdown beginning at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT).

Boeing has obtained billions of {dollars} from NASA to develop Starliner as an alternative choice to SpaceX’s Crew Dragon for sending astronauts into orbit.

The hope was that the gumdrop-shaped capsule might begin carrying NASA astronauts in 2020, across the time that Crew Dragon had its first crewed flight. However Starliner’s first uncrewed flight check in December 2019 failed to succeed in its meant orbit, attributable to a glitch in an automatic timing system.

After Starliner’s touchdown, investigators discovered greater than 60 corrective actions that wanted to be taken. Boeing put aside a whole lot of thousands and thousands of {dollars} to make the fixes and equipped for a do-over final August. However a valve drawback pressured a last-minute postponement of the reflight, often known as Orbital Flight Check 2 or OFT-2.

It took months to repair the issue and prepare for at the moment’s OFT-2 launch try.

The flight plan follows the course that was meant for the primary check in 2019: After reaching orbit, Starliner will meet up with the house station for an automatic rendezvous a day after launch. Though that is primarily a check mission, the capsule will ship greater than 500 kilos of cargo, together with meals, provisions and private gadgets for the crew.

After 5 to 10 days of checkouts, Starliner would unhook from the house station and descend to a landing within the western U.S., aided by parachutes and airbags. White Sands Missile Vary is the first touchdown web site, with backup websites in Arizona, Utah and California.

NASA and Boeing will analyze information from the mission earlier than figuring out the timing for the Crew Flight Check, or CFT for brief.

This time round, Starliner’s solely occupant is a sensor-equipped model nicknamed Rosie the Rocketeer. However three dwelling, respiratory NASA astronauts — Butch Wilmore, Mike Fincke and Suni Williams — are already ready within the wings and watching to see what occurs to Rosie.

“We’re greater than thrilled to be right here,” Wilmore informed reporters throughout a pre-launch information briefing. “We’re additionally very, very jealous, as a result of that is human spaceflight, and Rosie the model is the one which will get to take the journey as an alternative of us.”

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