Yesterday, the engineering team working inside the Boeing Mission Control Center in Florida powered up the CST-100 Starliner to ensure all systems are performing as intended ahead of the spacecraft’s planned liftoff atop the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket for the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2).
The final Mission Data Load (MDL) software, which includes data specific to space weather and the International Space Station (ISS), was loaded onto the vehicle. Teams also packed the final cargo bag, called the Avionics Bag, with the fully charged tablets that contain procedures the Expedition 65 crew will use to work on the Starliner while it is docked with the ISS.
At around 5:30 a.m. today, the Boeing pad operations team working inside the White Room closed the hatch to Starliner’s crew module. Inside the vehicle is “Rosie the Rocketeer,” an anthropometric test device, and about 760 pounds of cargo bound for the ISS.
Many of the pad team activities performed for OFT-2 serve as practice for when astronauts fly, as crew insertion is one of the most critical day of launch activities on future missions.