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May 18, 2022

Boeing Starliner OFT-2 launch date, specs, and timeline for the ISS flight

Posted by in category: space travel

Nearly three years ago, OFT-1 aimed to accomplish the same goals as OFT-2. Although the Atlas V rocket inserted the Starliner capsule into a perfect trajectory, the capsule’s navigational systems believed “it was in an orbital insertion burn.” Despite this failure, mission control was able to safely return Starliner to Earth. Over the coming months, inspectors found that the capsule had encountered two critical software issues.

Comprehensively inspecting and fixing the navigation system for a complex spacecraft is no easy task, which is one of the reasons why a second orbital test has been so delayed. Unrelated issues forced Boeing to scrub the intended second launch in August 2021. Now that Starliner is back and presumably better than ever, this launch will test the complex imaging system required to dock to the ISS, along with the rest of the Starliner spacecraft.

WHAT’S NEXT? — If OFT-2 is successful, Boeing can finally progress toward moving astronauts to the International Space Station. Currently, NASA’s only ride to the ISS is through SpaceX’s Crew Dragon program, which has seen four flawless Commercial Crew missions to the space station, two other crewed launches to the ISS, and one orbital all-civilian mission. Pending a successful test, Starliner could see crewed use by the end of 2022.

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