Boeing and NASA are ready to launch the Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station for Orbital Flight Test-2. The OFT-2 mission is meant to demonstrate the spacecraft’s ability to support crewed missions to the Space Station as part of NASA’s commercial crew program.
Launch is scheduled for liftoff at 5:54pm CT on Thursday, May 19th from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
NASA will provide coverage of the launch beginning at 5pm CT on NASA TV, the NASA app, and NASA Live. Coverage of the launch will include prelaunch activities, the launch, and events through orbital insertion.
The launch of OFT-2 is critical for both Boeing and NASA, as it is a necessary and last step in proving the safety of the spacecraft and it’s ability to complete a mission from launch to touchdown. Following a successful launch, Stariner will rendezvous with the International Space Station, dock, and after its cargo is unloaded the spacecraft will return to Earth.
Starliner’s return will occur about five to ten days after docking, depending on weather and landing conditions. Touchdown will take place on land, at one of five NASA landing zones instead of splashing down in the Ocean or Gulf of Mexico as we’ve seen SpaceX’s Crew Dragon do.