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Boeing Starliner Will Launch or Fail on May 19, Here’s Where to Watch

A couple of years ago, space enthusiasts were hyped about the possibility of two new spacecraft serving the needs of American astronauts. Developed and tested at about the same time, the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the Boeing Starliner should have become a duo for the history books.
Boeing Starliner awaiting third go at successful mission 8 photos
Starliner arrives at the Vertical Integration FacilityStarliner arrives at the Vertical Integration FacilityStarliner arrives at the Vertical Integration FacilityStarliner is lifted atop the Atlas V for the second uncrewed test flightStarliner is lifted atop the Atlas V for the second uncrewed test flightStarliner is lifted atop the Atlas V for the second uncrewed test flightStarliner is lifted atop the Atlas V for the second uncrewed test flight
As it stands, only one of the two spaceships actually made it into service, and it’s already hard at work taking people, both certified astronauts and amateurs, to Earth’s orbit and back: the Crew Dragon.

Boeing’s machine, on the other hand, failed miserably to deliver. When it first tried to fly in space and dock with the International Space Station (ISS), in December 2019, it departed Earth, reached orbit, and got confused by its whereabouts, being unable to complete its mission.

Boeing had another go in August 2021, but this time the spaceship didn’t even leave Earth, being stopped by a malfunction of some kind with a valve.

Ever since that time, which is about 10 months ago already, the Starliner has been out of the public eye, and engineers tried to figure out what’s wrong with it. They apparently got to the bottom of it, and the Starliner quietly awaits the third mission attempt to take place on May 19.

Called Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2), the mission is expected to begin at 6:54 p.m. EDT. The capsule launches aided by a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The mission profile calls for it to dock to the space station at 7:10 p.m. on Friday, May 20. To show how confident they are in the fact that this time it’ll work, those in charge of the mission filled the capsule with 500 pounds (227 kg) of cargo and crew supplies. The Starliner is supposed to come back to Earth equally uncrewed, but carrying 600 pounds (272 kg) of stuff back from the station.

NASA will stream most of the mission live, from pre-launch to hatch opening upon arrival back on Earth, starting with 6 p.m. on May 19, on the agency’s official TV channel.

 
 
 
 
 

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