Advertisement

Boeing plans second Starliner capsule test flight in July

Boeing technicians prepare the Starliner space capsule at Kennedy Space Center for a second test flight planned for July 30. Photo courtesy of Boeing
Boeing technicians prepare the Starliner space capsule at Kennedy Space Center for a second test flight planned for July 30. Photo courtesy of Boeing

ORLANDO, Fla., June 16 (UPI) -- Boeing will attempt a second uncrewed test flight of the company's Starliner space capsule on July 30 after a disappointing first test flight in December 2019, the company and NASA said Wednesday.

United Launch Alliance plans to send the capsule into space aboard an Atlas V rocket at 2:53 p.m. EDT from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Advertisement

The mission, known as Orbital Test Flight 2 or OFT-2, will attempt to prove Starliner's capability to carry astronauts to the International Space Station.

NASA and Boeing plan to dock at the space station, and the capsule would then fly back to a land-based return under parachutes in New Mexico.

RELATED NASA adds software experts to work toward new Boeing capsule flight

The previous test flight in December 2019 failed to reach the International Space Station because of a software problem. The capsule landed successfully in New Mexico after two days in space.



Advertisement

NASA classified that test failure as a "high visibility close call," the lowest category NASA uses for serious mission problems. Boeing agreed to a lengthy checklist of fixes and checkouts before Starliner would fly again.

RELATED NASA announces launch plans for new Dream Chaser spaceplane

Boeing is now at least a year behind competitor SpaceX in attempting to fly astronauts to the space station as a contractor in NASA's Commercial Crew Program. SpaceX has flown three crews to the orbiting platform, first in May 2020.

"NASA and Boeing have closed all actions recommended by the joint NASA-Boeing Independent Review Team, which was formed as a result of Starliner's first test flight in December 2019," Boeing said in a press release Wednesday.

Teams inside the Starliner production factory at Kennedy Space Center in Florida have begun fueling the Starliner crew module and service module in preparation for launch, Boeing said.

RELATED NASA fears gap in astronaut crew at multibillion-dollar space station

If all goes well with this test flight, Boeing intends to launch astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore, Nicole Mann and Mike Fincke to the space station in late 2021.

Astronauts make round trip to space station from U.S. soil

NASA astronaut Douglas Hurley (C) waves to onlookers as he boards a plane at Naval Air Station Pensacola to return him and NASA astronaut Robert Behnken home to Houston a few hours after the duo landed in their SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft off the coast of Pensacola, Fla,, on August 2, 2020. Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA | License Photo

Latest Headlines