Boeing Starliner Will Dock Next To SpaceX Crew Dragon At The Space Station –Watch It Live!

Boeing Starliner Will Dock Next To SpaceX Crew Dragon At The Space Station –Watch It Live!

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program returned human spaceflight capabilities to the United States. SpaceX became the first private company to launch astronauts from American soil in 2020, after roughly a decade of NASA depending on Russia to launch crewed missions. NASA selected SpaceX and Boeing to launch rotational crew flights to the International Space Station (ISS), however, Boeing has faced some issues with its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft which caused some delays to test its vehicle and certify that its safe to carry humans. SpaceX Falcon 9 has already launched 10 NASA astronauts aboard Crew Dragon over the course of three missions to ISS.
SpaceX’s third crew is currently at the orbiting laboratory. 

After a failed attempt to dock Starliner to the Space Station in December 2019, Boeing will try again during its upcoming Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2), scheduled for Friday, July 30. The uncrewed CST-100 Starliner will liftoff atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 2:53 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Starliner will dock next to SpaceX Crew-2 Crew Dragon Endeavour over the weekend. It will mark the first time two different spacecraft by American companies are docked simultaneously to the ISS Harmony module. 07/30/2021 UPDATE: MISSION DELAYED UNTIL AUGUST 3. Read more Information in the Tweet linked below. 



During the first test in 2019, Starliner's computer timer malfunctioned causing it to fire its engines incorrectly and use up too much fuel. Due to this issue, Starliner failed to reach the proper orbit. Boeing stated the craft did reach a stable orbit but it did not accomplish the correct altitude to be able to dock with the station autonomously. The capsule then conducted a parachute-assisted return to Earth. For the past year Boeing has been conducting ground tests to prepare the vehicle before launching NASA astronauts aboard. If the OFT-2 mission goes well, it will help Boeing earn a human certification for the Starliner vehicle. Once Boeing obtains the certification it will be able to conduct its first crewed flight to space. NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore, Nicole Mann and Mike Fincke have been training to ride the vehicle.

To prepare for Starliner’s uncrewed arrival, SpaceX’s Crew-2 NASA astronauts at the Space Station relocated Crew Dragon Endeavour from the Harmony module’s forward-port to the space-facing port on July 21. Now, all is ready for Boeing’s test launch. During a flight readiness review this week, the agency said that they are “GO” for launch. “We have spent the 18 months really trying to ring this vehicle out to have a lot of confidence that this flight will be successful,” the Boeing Commercial Crew Program Manager John Vollmer said Tuesday during a pre-launch news conference at Kennedy Space Center. “We will learn something out of this flight, there’s no doubt, but we want it to be a successful flight, and that the learning is something that we incorporate back to make this a safer, more robust vehicle.”

Starliner is expected to dock to the Space Station on Saturday, July 31 at 3:06 p.m. EDT. By Sunday, August 1st, NASA astronauts will open Starliner’s hatch to get out around 440 pounds of cargo at around 9:35 a.m. The spacecraft will remain docked to the orbiting laboratory for 5 to 10 days. Then, Boeing’s mission control will command Starliner to undock and conduct a parachute-assisted landing off a desert in the U.S. state of New Mexico. You can watch a Live broadcast of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner Orbital Flight Test-2 via NASA TV (video below) starting at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time on July 30.



Featured Image Source: Boeing 

About the Author

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.

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