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



Astronauts can’t wait to see Boeing Starliner launch of the spacecraft into space today (August 3), despite issues with the capsule’s previous unmanned space flight.

After a delay Since its originally scheduled launch on Friday, July 30, today at 1:20 p.m. EDT (5:20 p.m. GMT), Boeing’s Starliner will be launched atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at the International space station from Space Launch Complex 41 to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, the company’s kickoff OFT-2 Unmanned test flight, Ahead of this exciting launch, which Boeing hopes will be the last step before they can start using Starliner to transport astronauts to and from the space station, astronauts are sharing their excitement.

“It’s really our dress rehearsal to get people on board”, NASA Astronaut Doug Wheelock said. “[I’m] very excited about what’s going on in space and space exploration, opening space exploration to everyone. ”

Related: Photo Tour: Inside the Hangar of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner

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

During the original OFT, Starliner failed to reach the space station and landed earlier than expected.

“As you know, a year and a half ago in December 2019, we achieved a lot of goals, but we didn’t meet the rendezvous and docking target with the International Space Station,” said NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana, a former astronaut. said at the conference.

Since the original OFT, following a post-flight review, Boeing has fulfilled all NASA requirements prior to this follow-up flight. And astronauts seem confident and excited about OFT-2 and future crewed flights with Starliner.

“The flight readiness exam was smooth as glass,” said NASA administrator Bill Nelson, who visited space in 1986 as part of the program. NASA Space Shuttle, during a press briefing on July 29. “And I think that indicates the hard work, the thoroughness, the preparation that made this flight successful.” Nelson added that the only concern he had for the flight was possible bad weather, as thunderstorms presented themselves throughout the week.

“We’re learning every day about our systems and how robust our systems are and maybe better designs that we can think of and things like that,” Wheelock said, adding that “the people who are going to get attached to this vehicle are probably going to be watching this more closely than anyone else. “

One astronaut in particular is particularly excited about the upcoming launch, as they shared on Twitter. NASA astronaut Sunita williams, who is scheduled to command Boeing’s first fully operational crewed Starliner mission, Starliner-1, is on-site in Florida for the launch and looks delighted to see the vehicle take off.

“She’s at the launch pad!” Williams tweeted on July 29, referring to Starliner, who was deployed that day (before returning after the delay was announced).

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“They really are stepping stones,” said Wheelock. He wasn’t just talking about the upcoming Starliner launch, but the growing advancements in commercial spaceflight.

NASA’s “commercial crew program, including Boeing’s Starliner, is the stepping stone towards us going further,” he added, citing specific future plans by NASA and its business partners to ” building landers to land on the moon and other subsystems in our lunar orbit, our Gateway program and, of course, our SLS [Space Launch System], our big rocket and our Orion program too. So everything is linked. And we’re trying to forge public and private partnerships with the commercial industry to get back to the moon, and we’re very excited about it. “

Email Chelsea Gohd at or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.



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