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NASA, Boeing prepares its Starliner OFT to dock with ISS

Updated: May 20, 2022

Spacecraft will make a second unmanned flight, and it should dock with the ISS

Atlas V N22 AV-082

NASA and Boeing will launch the Starliner CST-100 spacecraft, (designated number S2.1) designed to transport astronauts to the International Space Station, on its second unmanned test flight. The liftoff time today, May 19, 2022, has been established for the Atlas V rocket to send Starliner into convergence orbit with the International Space Station. Based on the most recent calculations of when the station's orbital plane will pass over the Cape Canaveral platform, the launch will take place at 18:54:47 EDT (22:54:47 UTC). Liftoff will be from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. The United Launch Alliance Atlas V N22 Rocket (with tail number AV-082) assigned for this OFT-2 mission, will launch the Boeing spacecraft.

Part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP), the unmanned OFT is Starliner's second launch. The second uncrewed test flight will demonstrate the end-to-end performance of the rocket and spacecraft, including the guidance, navigation and control systems, ground systems and operations teams, as well as in orbit, docking, entry and landing operations. Starliner will land at one of five designated locations in the western United States.

The mission, called Orbital Flight Test 2, OFT-2, is a redo – this time complete, it is expected – of the OFT-1 launched in December 2019 and which suffered software glitches that prevented docking with the station. This test flight is the last major step before the Atlas V and Starliner capsule will take American astronauts to the ISS as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

Atlas V atop Starliner SC2.1 poised at LC-41, Cape Canaveral (Photo Credit: NASA)