Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is now poised to launch on a mission to demonstrate the system is ready to begin transporting NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS).
The spacecraft rolled out July 17 from the back of the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a transport vehicle and then left the parking lot about 4:00 a.m. ET. Starliner made a slow, carefully orchestrated, 10-mile (16-kilometer) trek to United Launch Alliance’s Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
After about an hour-long journey, Starliner was hoisted and mated to the Atlas V rocket that will launch the uncrewed spacecraft to orbit. With the two vehicles now connected, the teams will perform integrated testing to ensure they’re properly communicating with one another prior to launch.
“Seeing the Starliner atop the Atlas V just days away from launch is symbolic of how proud our team feels about executing this mission,” said John Vollmer, vice president and program manager, Boeing Commercial Crew Program. “OFT-2 is a critical milestone on our path to crewed flights, and we’re all ready to see our hard work come to life with a successful mission from beginning to end.”
Boeing worked hand-in-hand with NASA to address lessons learned from Starliner’s first flight, including re-verifying flight code, completing a comprehensive test of flight software, and performing an end-to-end mission rehearsal with final flight software, hardware and mission operators. The company also successfully closed out dozens of recommended actions by a joint NASA and Boeing Independent Review Team.