Latest News, Updates & Photos of the Starliner Spacecraft
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Latest Starliner Updates
Starliner Launch Delayed
During pre-launch preparations for the uncrewed test flight of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, Boeing engineers monitoring the health and status of the vehicle detected unexpected valve position indications in the propulsion system. The issue was initially detected during check outs following yesterday’s electrical storms in the region of Kennedy Space Center.
Consequently, the launch of the Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will be postponed. The launch was scheduled for 1:20 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Aug. 3. Boeing and NASA teams are assessing the situation. The team will provide updates regarding a launch attempt on Wednesday, Aug. 4.
“We’re disappointed with today’s outcome and the need to reschedule our Starliner launch,” said John Vollmer, vice president and program manager, Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program. “Human spaceflight is a complex, precise and unforgiving endeavor, and Boeing and NASA teams will take the time they need to ensure the safety and integrity of the spacecraft and the achievement of our mission objectives.”
The next Launch Attempt time is 12:57pm ET, August 4th
Stay tuned to StarlinerUpdates.com for the latest updates
Boeing has confirmed todays launch is scrubbed. Next available launch date is tomorrow, August 4th, at 1:00pm ET
All three cryogenic tanks on the rocket have been topped off to flight level. That gives us a fully-fueled, 978,924-pound rocket to launch Starliner today.
T-minus 4 minutes (L-4 hours, 4 minutes) and holding. The countdown has entered the planned four-hour built-in hold. With the rocket in a quiescent state following fueling, this hold is when astronauts will board Starliner for flight. Today's Orbital Flight Test-2 will simulate crew ingress procedures by the Blue Team at the pad. Liftoff time remains 1:20:18 p.m. EDT (1720:18 UTC), at T-minus 4 minutes and holding, this is Atlas Launch Control.
Launch Weather at 50%
Launch Weather Officer Will Ulrich in her latest briefing indicates conditions are acceptable with no threat of lightning for the Blue Team's entrance into the launch pad.
The forecast continues to reflect a 50-50 chance of meeting the launch weather rules at liftoff time today due to development of cumulus clouds as well as lightning concerns.
VALOR Room Now Open
Members of United Launch Alliance's VALOR room team are coming on duty at this hour in Denver. The elite group of ULA specialists will serve as an ascent flight control team during launches of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft aboard Atlas V rockets.
Stationed in the Vehicle Ascent and Launch Operations Room (VALOR) at ULA's Denver headquarters, this dedicated team will monitor the health and performance of the Atlas V rocket during every Starliner capsule's climb to space.
The safety of astronauts is paramount in the return of human spaceflight launch capabilities to the United States, and ULA's VALOR team takes this responsibility seriously. The highly trained engineers staffing the consoles will provide real-time status of the Atlas V vehicle and assist in making real-time decisions with Boeing's flight director at Mission Control in Houston.
"This ULA Ascent Team in the VALOR is Boeing's and the flight crew's insight into the launch vehicle during ascent. If you compare it to the space shuttle program, we are equivalent to the BOOSTER position in Mission Control," said Gregory Plettinck, the Ascent Room Coordinator (ARC).
VALOR is located in the Denver Operations Support Center, which provides engineering expertise during all ULA launches. This new room is isolated to ensure no distractions to the engineers’ work that goes beyond the normal level of ascent data monitoring.
Console positions will monitor all critical systems, like avionics, the engines, fuel tanks and the vehicle navigation. They also will be supplying confirmation of launch ascent events to Mission Control in Houston, such as engine ignitions, throttling events and cutoffs, and the jettisoning of the twin solid rocket boosters, the first stage, aeroskirt and Starliner itself.
"The team undergoes extensive training and all members must be certified to properly carry out their roles on day of launch. The safety of the flight crew depends on them," said ULA Mission Manager Caleb Weiss.
In addition, VALOR will offer situational awareness of any off-nominal launch vehicle data in the telemetry stream from the rocket and prompt the engineers to report flight rule violations if they occur.
"In the event of a developing anomaly, the team will provide a recommendation to the flight director in Houston on the course of action to best keep the crew safe," Weiss said.
The VALOR will be available to support other missions that use an Ascent Team such as the ULA-made Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage on NASA's Space Launch System.
Fast-filling of the first stage liquid oxygen tank has been completed. Topping mode is now underway to produce a fully-fueled, 978,924-pound rocket to launch Starliner today.
The cryogenics will be replenished throughout the countdown until the final minutes before launch to replace the liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen that naturally boils away
For decades, patches have served as iconic representations of our nation’s human spaceflight programs, flight tests and missions. The patches are composed of symbols, colors and icons that represent the objectives of and significance behind each endeavor beyond Earth's atmosphere.
The OFT-2 patch's five sides represent the five phases of Starliner's development with NASA and the five seats available on a flight to the International Space Station (ISS). A predominantly purple color scheme reflects the devotion and pride we have for this program and its future.
At the micro level, the thumbprint pattern over the Earth represents every unique and diverse teammate working on the Starliner. It's a symbol of the people who have been hands-on preparing our spacecraft for a safe flight. It represents those who are in the factory each day building the spacecraft as well as those who have had a hand in designing, testing, coding and training so we can get OFT-2 right.
At a macro level, the thumbprint represents how deeply personal this mission is to Boeing, as human spaceflight has been and always will be a part of our company’s DNA. The three white lines curved above "Earth" represent our methodical steps to reach low Earth orbit and Starliner’s three flight test missions to space.
The ISS is depicted in its entirety to symbolize our commitment to docking there and achieving all flight test objectives. NASA’s iconic astronaut emblem (three lines converging at a star) tops off the patch, demonstrating crew safety as our top priority.
Atlas RP-1 Load Completed
The Atlas V's first stage has been loaded with RP-1 fuel that will power the main engine during the initial phase of the Starliner launch. Cryogenic fueling of the rocket with liquid oxygen to the main stage and liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to Centaur occurs during the final two hours of the countdown Tuesday.
Launch of the Atlas V with Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft remains scheduled for tomorrow at precisely 1:20:18 p.m. EDT (1720:18 UTC) from Cape Canaveral.
Atlas RP-1 Loading Begins
Fueling of the Atlas V first stage is underway at Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex-41. The launch team is pumping 25,000 gallons of storable RP-1 fuel, a highly refined kerosene, into the rocket for tomorrow's flight.
Launch Weather Officer Will Ulrich reports to mission managers that conditions are acceptable to proceed with RP-1 fuel loading into the #AtlasV's first stage a short time from now. ULA Launch Director Lou Mangieri has given approval for tanking.
Starliner Mission Dates to Remember
Earliest NASA/Boeing OFT-2 launch & mission times/dates pending Space Station readiness:
1:20 pm EDT Tuesday, Aug 3
3:06 pm Wednesday, Aug 4
8:28 am Monday, Aug 9
1:11 pm Monday, Aug 9 (White Sands, NM)