See how Boeing launches an astronaut capsule into space


Boeing will ship its Starliner astronaut capsule to the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday, more than a year and a half after its first orbit-Starliner test failed to reach the station and returned home earlier than planned. The task is a test and there are no people on board. If all goes well, it will be a decisive step towards Boeing and NASA’s goal of using Starliner for routine astronaut operations, and a key opportunity to save the reputation of the aerospace giant after years of setbacks and controversies.

The test operation, called Orbital Flight Test 2, will be launched from the Cape Canaveral space station in Florida using an Atlas-V rocket built by the United Launch Alliance. The Starliner sitting on top of the rocket does what Boeing rival SpaceX made its Crew Dragon capsule in early 2019 – go into space, dock for the ISS, stay there for 10 days and then return to earth. Both companies have developed their capsules as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew program. Boeing’s Starliner deal is $ 4.5 billion and SpaceX’s $ 2.7 billion.

Starliner, a seven-seater astronaut in the shape of a flat acorn, suffered a series of software bugs during a 2019 test flight, forcing Boeing to bypass the space station docking and bring it home early just two days after launch into space. Over the next 18 months, Boeing sought to address 80 different concerns resulting from lengthy technical investigations led by the company’s employees and NASA’s independent experts. These 80 recommendations have been implemented, Boeing Starliner chief John Vollmer told reporters on Tuesday, and Starliner is ready to fly again.

What time is the boot?

The liftoff is on Tuesday at 1:20 p.m. ET forecasts The Air Force predicts only a 40 percent probability of unfavorable launch weather. Boeing and NASA postponed mission last Friday after a new Russian science module docked the day before Starliner’s planned launch began to uncontrollably fire its propellers and pushed the entire space station out of place. NASA’s ISS team needed time to make sure everything on the space station was normalized before receiving the new spacecraft.

If Tuesday’s launch is canceled due to weather, Boeing will retry on Wednesday, August 4 at 1 p.m. ET. Assuming it launches on Tuesday, Starliner will try to dock at the International Space Station about 24 hours later, on Wednesday at 1:37 p.m. ET, to begin its ten-day stay. NASA astronauts who are already at the station – Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Mark Vande Hey – will perform tests inside the capsule before it bites about 10 days later. The exact time Starliner unloads its home depends on weather forecasts in New Mexico, where the capsule will return.

How to look at Starliner’s mission

Like all its launches, NASA plans to stream the Starliner release on YouTube, live broadcast at 12.30 ET. NASA’s live broadcast of Starliner’s ISS docking will begin the following day, Wednesday, at 10:30 a.m. ET and will be available on the Agency’s main live -YouTube feed.

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