NASA and Boeing are setting March 29 as the date for the launch of Starliner’s second uncrewed flight test to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) is a critical developmental milestone on the company’s path toward flying crew missions for NASA. The CST-100 Starliner spacecraft will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It is expected to return to land in the western United States about a week later as part of an end-to-end test to prove the system is ready to fly crew.
The OFT-2 Starliner spacecraft is nearing final assembly inside the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The vehicle’s reusable crew module has been powered up and final checkouts of the avionics, power and propulsion systems are nearing the completion stage.
Boeing technicians continue to refurbish the crew module flown on Starliner’s first Orbital Flight Test while also building a brand-new service module for NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT), which is targeted for launch in summer 2021, following a successful OFT-2 mission.
NASA astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore, Mike Fincke, and Nicole Mann continue to train for CFT, the inaugural crewed flight of the Starliner spacecraft.
Teams are running both static and dynamic testing of the vehicle’s software to ensure it’s coded as designed and incorporates all mission requirements.
“NASA and Boeing are doing a tremendous amount of work on all aspects of their flight software running numerous cases through the Boeing high fidelity simulation environment that includes the Starliner avionics,” said Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.