Boeing Starliner is on track for its July test flight

Shane McGlaun - Jun 19, 2021, 9:17am CDT
Boeing Starliner is on track for its July test flight

NASA and Boeing are currently preparing the Starliner capsule for Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2). The flight test is a critical portion of the testing regime to clear Starliner to carry astronauts to and from the ISS in the future. Recently, teams at the Starliner production facility at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida began to fuel the Starliner crew module and service module in preparation for the OFT-2 launch on Friday, July 30.

Currently, the launch is scheduled for 2:53 PM EDT on Friday, July 30. NASA expects fueling operations to be completed this week with propellant being loaded inside the Hazardous Processing Area portion of the Kennedy Space Center facility. Teams are also performing final spacecraft checks to ensure it’s ready for flight next month.

When fueling operations are completed, teams from both Boeing and United Launch Alliance will gear up to transport the capsule to the Verticle Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Once the capsule arrives there, it will be mated with the United Lodge Alliance Atlas V rocket.

ULA is currently assembling the Atlas V rocket at the Vertical Integration Facility, an operation called Launch Vehicle on Stand. NASA and Boeing have currently closed all actions recommended by the joint NASA-Boeing Independent Review Team. That team was created after the first test flight of Starliner in December 2019.

The Independent Review Team issued multiple recommendations relating to integrated testing and simulation processes and operational improvements, software requirements, remodeled communication system improvements, and organizational changes. Boeing says that it has completed all of those recommendations, even if the recommendations weren’t mandatory, ahead of the July test flight. As the date for the test flight nears, mission control teams located in Florida and Texas will continue conducting simulated mission dress rehearsals for OFT-2 and future crewed missions.

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