Boeing Orbital Flight Test 2

Summary

Boeing Starliner Orbital Flight Test-2
Spacecraft 2 in preparation for OFT-2.jpg
Spacecraft 2 in processing ahead of OFT-2
NamesBoe-OFT 2
Mission typeTest flight
Operator
Mission duration7-14 days (planned)
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftStarliner Spacecraft 2
ManufacturerBoeing
Launch mass13,000 kg (29,000 lb)
Start of mission
Launch dateAugust or September 2021 (planned)[1]
RocketAtlas V N22 (AV-082)
Launch siteCape Canaveral, SLC-41
ContractorUnited Launch Alliance
End of mission
Landing dateSeptember 2021 (planned)
Landing siteWhite Sands Missile Range
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Inclination51.66°
Docking with ISS
Docking portHarmony forward
Time docked5 days (planned)
Orbital Flight Test-2 mission patch.png
Boeing Starliner Orbital Flight Test-2 mission patch  

The Boeing Starliner Orbital Flight Test-2 (also known as Boe-OFT 2) is a planned repeat of Boeing's first Orbital Flight Test that was affected by software problems. The uncrewed mission will test the Boeing Starliner spacecraft as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, scheduled for launch in August or September 2021.[1] The Starliner OFT-2 mission is planned to last seven to fourteen days, during which the Starliner spacecraft will demonstrate rendezvous and docking capabilities with the International Space Station (ISS), followed by undocking and landing in the western United States.

This is the first planned docking of Starliner after the December 2019 flight failed to rendezvous with the station due to an anomaly with the spacecraft's Mission Elapsed Time (MET) clock. On 6 April 2020, Boeing announced that they would repeat the Orbital Flight Test to prove and meet all of the test objectives. A four-month investigation of the first Orbital Flight Test resulted in Boeing proposing another uncrewed flight test of the spacecraft's systems. NASA accepted the proposal from Boeing to do another uncrewed test flight at no cost to American taxpayers, at an estimated out-of-pocket cost of US$410 million. The mission is planned to use the hardware, Starliner, and Atlas V originally planned for use on the crewed flight test.[2]

Payload

The capsule will carry approximately 270 kg (600 lb) of supplies and test equipment to simulate future missions with astronauts and their cargo on board.

Mission

The second Atlas V N22, designated AV-082, will launch the Starliner spacecraft on its second uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station. The capsule is intended to dock with the space station, then return to Earth to land in the Western United States after an orbital shakedown cruise ahead of Boeing Crewed Flight Test.[2]

OFT-2 is the second flight of an Atlas V without a payload fairing and with a dual-engine Centaur upper stage. The dual-engine Centaur uses two RL10s and is required for Starliner flights in order to provide a launch trajectory that allows a safe abort at any point in the mission.[3]

Boeing modified the design of the Starliner docking system after the OFT-1 flight. A hinged re-entry cover for additional protection during the capsule's fiery descent through the atmosphere was added, like in the SpaceX design. This will be tested on the OFT-2 mission.[4][5]

On 9 December 2020, NASA and Boeing announced that 29 March 2021 was the targeted launch date for the OFT-2 mission.[6][4] On 16 December 2020, Boeing officials released the official mission patch for the Orbital Flight Test-2 mission.[7][8][9] On 18 January 2021, Boeing and NASA announced that they have re-certified Starliner's spacecraft software for the OFT-2 mission.[10][4] In February 2021, the launch date shifted to 25 March, then 2 April, then mid April. As of April 2021, the launch is scheduled for August or September 2021, with an exact date to be determined.[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "NASA and Boeing Targeting August/September for Starliner's Uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 Launch". Boeing. 17 April 2021. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b Burghardt, Thomas (7 July 2020). "NASA and Boeing Complete Starliner Orbital Flight Test Investigation". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  3. ^ Gebhardt, Chris (21 November 2019). "Starliner arrives at launch pad in major pre-flight milestone". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Clark, Stephen (18 January 2021). "Boeing making progress on Starliner software for test flight in March". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  5. ^ Clark, Stephen (25 August 2020). "Boeing plans second Starliner test flight in December 2020 or January 2021". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  6. ^ "NASA and Boeing Target New Launch Date for Next Starliner Flight Test" (Press release). Boeing. 9 December 2020. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  7. ^ "A significant symbol for Starliner: Program's newest flight test patch revealed" (Press release). Boeing. 16 December 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  8. ^ Pearlman, Robert (17 December 2020). "Boeing reveals mission patch for second Starliner orbital flight test". Space.com. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  9. ^ Hall, Zac (16 December 2020). "Boeing unveils "personal" OFT-2 mission patch ahead of next Starliner spacecraft orbital flight test". Space Explored. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  10. ^ "Boeing Completes Software Qualification for Second Starliner Test Flight" (Press release). Boeing. 18 January 2021. Retrieved 18 January 2021.

External links

  • Official Webpage of the CST-100 Starliner
  • Launch Schedule by Spaceflight Now
  • NASA Live: Official Stream of NASA TV