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Watch the Boeing Starliner OFT-2 mission launch July 30

A white cone shaped fixture is examined by people wearing orange vests in the middle of a white room.
NASA identified 80 issues for Boeing to fix on Starliner following the capsule’s 1st unmanned test flight, which failed to reach the International Space Station in December 2019. Image via Boeing/ John Proferes/ Space.com.

Liftoff on July 30, 2021

On Friday, July 30, 2021, Boeing’s second uncrewed flight for its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) on an Atlas V rocket. The mission, called Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2), will depart from Space Launch Complex-41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Among other objectives, the spacecraft will carry more than 400 pounds (200 kg) of NASA cargo and crew supplies to the space station. Live coverage of the launch will begin at 2:00 p.m. EDT (18:00 UTC) on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and its mobile app. Liftoff is currently scheduled for 2:53 p.m. (18:53 UTC). Watch here. The spacecraft will spend about one day in orbit around Earth before docking at 3:06 p.m. (19:06 UTC) on July 31, 2021.

OFT-2 and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program

As a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, OFT-2 is also expected to provide valuable data to the agency. Boeing hopes the uncrewed flight will certify a crew transportation system for eventual flights with astronauts to and from the space station.

The goal of its Commercial Crew Program, NASA says, is to have safe, reliable, and cost-effective access to and from the ISS on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil. NASA selected Boeing in September 2014. Ultimately, Boeing and its Starliner craft are working to maintain a space station crew of seven, dedicated to performing scientific research on the orbiting laboratory every day.

Boeing launched a previous Orbital Flight Test back in December 2019, but the craft failed to reach the orbiting laboratory due to a series of glitches and software issues, NASA determined.

OFT-2 will, hopefully, once and for all prove the end-to-end capabilities of the Starliner spacecraft, starting from launch to docking to a return to Earth at the end of its spaceflight.

Bottom line: Watch a Boeing Starliner launch and dock with the International Space Station on July 30, 2021.

Via NASA

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