Boeing Starliner Cleared for Test Flight to ISS on July 30th
Back in December 20 of 2019, what was supposed to be Boeing spacecraft Starliner's final test before it could fly NASA astronauts to space failed when the rocketship did not achieve the proper orbit necessary to make it to the International Space Station (ISS). NASA said at the time that despite a successful launch from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the rocket was "not in its planned orbit" and was "currently in a stable configuration" while flight controllers troubleshot.
Then, on December 23 of 2019, NASA celebrated Boeing Starliner's safe landing back on Earth. The event marked the first land touchdown of a human-rated capsule in U.S. history.
Boeing Starliner is ready to try again
"NASA and Boeing are proceeding with plans for the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission to the International Space Station following a full day of briefings and discussion during a Flight Readiness Review that took place at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida," read a NASA statement.
"Launch of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is scheduled for 2:53 p.m. EDT Friday, July 30, from Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program."
A lot is relying on this next step because if the flight proves a success, NASA will move forward with a crewed test of the Starliner. This is crucial for NASA who now relies only on SpaceX for crewed flights.
NASA will conduct an end-to-end test of Starliner’s capabilities to evaluate whether the capsule can handle every aspect of a trip to the International Space Station, including launch, docking as well as atmospheric re-entry. If all goes well, NASA will then have two vehicles for getting astronauts to space and that is no small feat!