He’s got a bit of a “post-The Lord Mayor Show” about it, but the lengthy-awaited sequel to “Launching America” is almost over.
It was America’s first “launch” in more than a year, and SpaceX is now preparing for its third manned mission to the International Space Station (ISS), but Boeing has forever participated in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, and this week plans to become the second “space taxi” that can launch Astronauts from US soil.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) spacecraft:
What is a starliner?
Starliner is a space capsule very similar to the SpaceX Crew Dragon that launched three crews of NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. Designed for orbital spaceflight and launched vertically on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Florida, it descends back to Earth by parachute.
Although it may take seven astronauts, NASA will likely take four astronauts in addition to the cargo. It independently connects to the International Space Station using a vision-based system, but also has redundant manual controls.
The interior of the capsule glows blue – the color of the Boeing trademark.
When is this orbital test flight?
It is scheduled to launch at 2:53 PM EST on Friday, July 30, 2021 from Space Launch Complex-41, Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
It will meet and attach to the International Space Station, then following five to 10 days in orbit, the Starliner will unfold and return to Earth, parachuting back to Earth in the desert of the western United States.
How to broadcast live OFT-2
Live coverage and commentary descending on the launch will be broadcast at 2 PM EST on Friday, July 30, 2021 on NASA TV and the agency’s website, as well as on YouTube, TwitterFacebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion, Theta.TV, and NASA app.
A post-launch press conference is scheduled to be held on NASA TV at 4 p.m.
On Saturday, July 31 at 3:06 p.m., you can watch when the Starliner has docked with the International Space Station and on Sunday, August. 1 at 9:35 a.m. You can see the hatch followed by notes about 10:35 a.m.
OFT-2 خلفية background
This second unmanned mission of the Starliner to the International Space Station is about NASA’s certification of Boeing for routine flights with astronauts. It’s a repeat of Boeing’s first orbital flight test on December 20, 2019, called OFT-1, which failed in part due to a software issue that put the Starliner into an incorrect orbit, preventing it from docking with the International Space Station. Starliner returned to Earth two days later.
It’s all part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, an effort to use public-private partnerships to make space travel cheaper.
However, Starliner will also carry 440 lbs/200 kg of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station, and bring back to Earth some critical research samples.
What’s next for Starliner?
If all goes well, by the end of 2021 Starliner will fly its first manned mission to the International Space Station. NASA astronauts Barry Willmore, Nicole Mann, and Mike Finky are upside down.
I wish you a clear sky and wide eyes.