NASA and Boeing ‘set off’ for historic Starliner test mission

NASA and Boeing ‘set off’ for historic Starliner test mission
NASA and Boeing ‘set off’ for historic Starliner test mission

Officials from NASA, Boeing and ULA have finalized pre-launch details for the first crewed flight of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, intended to carry two astronauts to the ISS. Credit: Boeing

Officials are finalizing preparations for the first crewed flight of Boeing’s Starliner to the ISS, with a high probability of favorable weather conditions for the upcoming launch Monday.

NASABoeing and United Launch Alliance (ULA) officials discussed final pre-launch details to send two astronauts aboard Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station as the first crewed flight for Starliner. The pre-launch press conference concluded at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“We are going to experience a whole new adventure. This is an integral part of our exploration of space and what I call the ‘golden age of space exploration,’” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “It’s a historic day. It’s a wonderful day.

Officials provided countdown updates from 10:34 p.m. EDT Monday, May 6, NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore, commander, and Suni Williams, pilot, launch on the Starliner spacecraft as part of NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test mission. The crew is scheduled to dock with the space station on Wednesday, May 8, for a stay of about a week before returning to Earth with a parachute and airbag assisted landing in the southwest United States.

“It’s exciting to bring Starliner and a United Alliance Atlas launch vehicle online,” said Steve Stich, NASA Commercial Crew Program manager. “We are working to provide commercial crews with two independent space transportation systems. This has been our goal as a commercial crew since its inception, and we are very close to achieving this goal with the launch on Monday.

Brian Cizek, launch weather officer with the 45th Weather Squadron, predicts a 95 percent chance of favorable launch weather conditions, with the cumulus rule being the primary weather concern.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this team. We’re currently at peak performance and we’re really excited to execute on this launch. We’re ready to go,” said Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager of the Commercial Crew Program at Boeing.

At 3:30 p.m., NASA hosted a social media briefing (see video above) with the following participants:

  • Jim Free, NASA Associate Administrator
  • Ian Kappes, Deputy Director of the Launch Vehicle Office, NASA Commercial Crew Program
  • Amy Comeau Denker, Starliner Associate Chief Engineer, Boeing
  • Caleb Weiss, Systems Engineering and Test Manager, ULA

On Saturday, May 4, the ULA Atlas V rocket and Starliner spacecraft will arrive at Space Launch Complex-41 at the Cape Canaveral space station. The launch is scheduled for 10:34 p.m. on Monday, May 6.

Here is a list of other upcoming events leading up to the mission:

Every hour, US Eastern Time, which is equivalent to UTC-4.

All television broadcasts are broadcast on NASA TV public and media channels.

Audio streams are not broadcast on NASA TV and will be available on this page or via a link posted here.

NASA Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test Television Program (Rev. A)

Monday May 6

6:30 p.m. – Coverage of NASA’s Boeing Starliner crew flight test launch, featuring NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, to the International Space Station. The launch is scheduled for 10:34 p.m.

  • On NASA+, coverage will continue until the spacecraft reaches orbit.
  • On NASA TV, coverage will continue through docking, hatch opening and welcome remarks Wednesday morning.

Tuesday May 7

00:00 – NASA Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test Post-Launch Press Conference. Stream live on NASA+ and NASA TV Public Channel. Operational coverage of the mission will continue on NASA Television’s Media Channel during the press conference. After the post-launch press conference is completed, coverage of the mission will continue on both NASA television channels.

10:15 p.m. — Coverage of NASA’s Boeing Starliner crew flight test continues on NASA TV’s public channel and resumes on NASA+. Docking is scheduled for 12:48 a.m. on May 8. The hatches are scheduled to open at 2:35 a.m. on May 8, followed by the crew’s welcome speech at approximately 2:35 a.m. 3:15 a.m.

Wednesday May 8

4:15 a.m. – NASA Boeing Starliner crew flight test post-docking press conference. Stream live on NASA+

Friday May 10

11:40 a.m. – ISS Expedition 71 flight interview for KMGH-TV, Denver, with NASA flight engineer Matt Dominick. Stream live on NASA+

Tuesday May 14

12:10 p.m. — ISS Expedition 71 in-flight educational event for the TRIO Upward Bound program at Pima Community College’s Desert Vista campus in Tucson, Arizona, with NASA flight engineers Tracy Dyson and Mike Barrat.

Thursday May 16

11:40 a.m. – ISS Expedition 71 in-flight educational event for the New York Hall of Science in Corona, NY, with NASA Flight Engineer Jeanette Epps

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