With the new Russian module successfully attached to the ISS, NASA is now turning its attention to the Starliner launch expected to happen early next week. NASA has confirmed that it will provide prelaunch, launch, and docking activities coverage for the Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 mission to the ISS. OFT-2 is the second uncrewed flight test of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft as part of the Commercial Crew Program.
Currently, Starliner is scheduled for launch at 1:20 PM EDT on Tuesday, August 3. Starliner will be pushed into orbit by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. NASA says about 30 minutes after launch, Starliner will perform its orbital insertion burn and begin its trip to the ISS.
Docking is scheduled to happen at the ISS at 1:37 PM on Wednesday, August 4. NASA will air launch and docking coverage live on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the NASA website. While the Starliner spacecraft is heading to the ISS with no crew aboard, it will be carrying some cargo. NASA has confirmed the spacecraft will carry more than 400 pounds of NASA cargo and crew supplies to the space station.
Starliner will bring 550 pounds of cargo home on its return flight home, including the reusable Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System tanks used to provide astronauts aboard the ISS with breathable air. OFT-2 is an important mission meant to demonstrate the end-to-end capabilities of Starliner and the Atlas V rocket, spanning launch to docking and return to earth.
The capsule is scheduled to land in the desert of the Western United States. The mission will provide valuable data for certifying the Boeing spacecraft to carry crew to and from the space station.