Boeing’s Starliner space capsule is ready to launch on May 19, 2022 for an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station.
The CST-100 Starliner has been positioned on top of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and Boeing Space said it rolled out to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral on May 18.
The launch, part of NASA’s commercial crew program, is scheduled for 18:54 EDT (22:54 UTC) on May 19. The flight test is a crucial step ahead of Boeing’s first planned crew mission.
#Starliner and #AtlasV have rolled to the launch pad on @ulalaunch‘s Space Launch Complex-41. This is one of the final milestones before it launches May 19 to the @Space_Station on its #OFT2 journey. pic.twitter.com/3ofiuABCum— Boeing Space (@BoeingSpace) May 18, 2022
The Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) will include orbital maneuvering, International Space Station (ISS) rendezvous, docking, undocking and landing operations before a desert landing in the western United States. It will provide validation for all critical systems ahead of the first flight carrying astronauts to and from the ISS.
The Starliner has been delayed several times due to technical issues. In 2019, the capsule, on its maiden uncrewed flight to the ISS, failed to attain its proper orbit, and was unable to reach the station. More recently, OFT-2 was supposed to take place in August 2021 but was canceled after finding an error in its propulsion system.
The capsule is designed to accommodate seven passengers, or a mix of crew and cargo, for missions to low-Earth orbit. The Starliner competes with the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.