NASA astronauts ‘very excited’ about Boeing’s upcoming Starliner OFT-2 launch

Astronauts are desirous to see Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft launch to space right now (Aug. 3), regardless of points with the capsule’s earlier uncrewed spaceflight. 

After a delay from its initially-scheduled launch on Friday (July 30), right now at 1:20 p.m. EDT (1720 GMT) Boeing’s Starliner car will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket to the International Space Station from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, kicking off the corporate’s OFT-2 uncrewed take a look at flight,  Ahead of this thrilling launch, which Boeing hopes would be the remaining step earlier than it might start utilizing Starliner to ferry astronauts to and from the space station, astronauts are sharing their pleasure. 

“This is really our full dress rehearsal for putting people on board,” NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock instructed Space.com. “[I’m] very excited about what’s happening in space and space exploration, opening up space exploration to everyone.” 

Related: Photo tour: Inside Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spaceship hangar

OFT-2 (“Orbital Flight Test 2) follows the company’s December 2019 OFT mission, which suffered anomalies stemming from issues that have since been resolved. 

During the original OFT, Starliner failed to reach the space station and made an earlier touchdown than anticipated

“As , a year and a half in the past in December 2019, we met loads of aims, however we didn’t meet the target of rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station,” NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana, a former astronaut, said during the conference. 

Since the original OFT, following a postflight review, Boeing has completed all NASA requirements ahead of this followup flight. And astronauts seem confident and excited about OFT-2 and future crewed flights with Starliner. 

“The flight readiness evaluate, it was clean as glass” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, who flew to space in 1986 as part of NASA’s space shuttle program, said during a news briefing July 29. “And I believe that it signifies the exhausting work, the rigor, the preparation that went into making this flight profitable.” Nelson added that the only concern he had for the flight was possible foul weather, as thunderstorms have been looming throughout the week. 

“We’re studying day-after-day about our methods and the robustness of our methods and possibly higher designs that we will consider and issues like that,” Wheelock said, adding that “the parents which might be going to be strapping into this car are in all probability going to be watching this extra intently than in all probability anyone.”

One particular astronaut is especially excited about the upcoming launch, as they shared on Twitter. NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, who is set to command Boeing’s first fully operational crewed Starliner mission, Starliner-1, is on site in Florida for the launch and seems thrilled to see the vehicle lift off. 

“She’s on the launch pad!” Williams tweeted July 29, referring to Starliner, which rolled out that day (before rolling back in after the delay was announced).

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“This is actually stepping stones,” Wheelock said. He meant not just the upcoming Starliner launch but the growing progress across the commercial spaceflight sector. 

NASA’s “Commercial Crew Program, together with Starliner out of Boeing, are the stepping stones to us going out additional,” he added, citing specific future plans that NASA and its commercial partners have of “constructing landers to land on the moon, and different subsystems in our lunar orbit, our Gateway program and, after all, our SLS [Space Launch System], our massive rocket and our Orion program as nicely. So all of it ties collectively. And we’re making an attempt to companion private and non-private partnership with business trade to move again to the moon, and we’re very excited about that.”

Email Chelsea Gohd at [email protected] or observe her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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