Watch live: Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner flight test to ISS

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL, BM – Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday as part of its second unmanned test flight, NASA reported.

The launch will be carried out using the United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas 5 heavy launch vehicle at 13:20 US East Coast time from Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Cosmodrome in Florida. Docking with the ISS is to take place on August 4.

Onboard the promising manned spacecraft in the commander’s chair there will be a dummy dressed in a spacesuit, nicknamed “Rosie the Rocketeer”. The spacecraft will deliver 181 kg of food, scientific equipment, and materials for the ISS crew. After completing the flight as part of the station, it will return 250 kg of cargo to Earth, including the results of scientific experiments carried out on the ISS. The descent capsule is to land by parachute in New Mexico.

The duration of the spacecraft flight will be about a week.

The launch was originally scheduled for July 30, but according to NASA, it was postponed due to an incident with the Russian Nauka module when docked to the ISS on July 29. On the Nauka module docked to the ISS, the engines were switched on abnormally, which caused the station to turn 45 degrees. To compensate for the impulse, the engines of the Zvezda module and the Progress cargo vehicle had to be used. Ground specialists managed to regain control of the station, the crew and equipment were not affected.

At the same time, according to ULA, on July 30, due to unfavorable weather conditions in the area of ​​the cosmodrome at Cape Canaveral, the Atlas 5 launch vehicle with the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft was taken from the launch site to a closed vertical assembly shop.

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner is being developed for future missions by American astronauts into orbit.

During the first test flight of the spacecraft, which was conducted on December 20, 2019, it failed to dock with the ISS.

The rocket successfully brought the unmanned spacecraft to a suborbital trajectory. However, after that, it encountered a problem related to a malfunction in the engine time calculation system, as a result of which Starliner entered an abnormal, lower orbit. The spacecraft was running out of fuel, and docking with the ISS became impossible.

He made a successful soft landing at White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico. This was the first landing of an American descent capsule on land. All previous American vehicles splashed down in the ocean.

Since the first test flight, Boeing and NASA have made about 80 corrective changes to their systems before the second test flight. If the flight is successful, then NASA can certify the ship for the first test flight with astronauts on board.

Under a contract with NASA, Boeing received more than $ 5 billion for the development, production of the Starliner spacecraft, and its missions to deliver astronauts to the ISS and return them to Earth. It is designed for a crew of up to seven people.

Another American company, SpaceX, received $ 3.1 billion under a similar contract with NASA to develop its Crew Dragon spacecraft, which has already completed several manned flights to the ISS.

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