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Author Topic:   Boeing's CST-100 Starliner Crew Flight Test
Robert Pearlman
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NASA release
NASA and Boeing Extend Starliner Crew Flight Test Duration to Space Station

NASA and Boeing have agreed to extend the duration of the company's first crewed flight test to the International Space Station after completing an in-depth technical assessment of the CST-100 Starliner systems. NASA found the long-duration flight to be technically feasible and in the best interest of the agency's needs to ensure continued access and better utilization of the orbiting laboratory.

The extended duration test flight offers NASA the opportunity to complete additional microgravity research, maintenance, and other activities while the company's Starliner is docked to station. The mission duration will be determined at a later date.

"NASA's assessment of extending the mission was found to be technically achievable without compromising the safety of the crew," said Phil McAlister, director of the commercial spaceflight division at NASA Headquarters. "Commercial crew flight tests, along with the additional Soyuz opportunities, help us transition with greater flexibility to our next-generation commercial systems under the Commercial Crew Program."

The Crew Flight Test is now targeted for late 2019, to be confirmed closer to that timeframe.

Above: Boeing's Starliner prepares for acoustic testing at Boeing's spacecraft test facilities in El Segundo, California. This vehicle, known as Spacecraft 2, will fly Starliner's Crew Flight Test after it returns to Florida from environmental testing. (Boeing)

Boeing's Crew Flight Test spacecraft recently completed its Environmental Qualification Test campaign at the company's Space Environment Test Facilities in El Segundo, California. The Crew Flight Test vehicle underwent rounds of acoustics vibration, thermal vacuum and electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic contamination testing. These tests are designed to simulate the harsh environments of launch, ascent and orbit and also prove that the electronics systems will operate in space and not interfere with other satellites or the station.

NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Mike Fincke and Boeing's Chris Ferguson are continuing preparations for the Crew Flight Test at Johnson Space Center in Houston. They are training on Starliner's systems, including nominal and unlikely scenarios, such as water rescue training. They are also well into space station training, and are now focusing on becoming a longer duration crew. Mann and Fincke are training for upcoming spacewalks, and Ferguson is training to support them from inside the station.

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Boeing release
Ready for Orbit! Starliner Passes Environmental Qualification Testing

"Test like you fly" is a mantra Boeing's CST-100 Starliner team takes to heart, proven by the success of a recent environmental test campaign at Boeing's Space Environment Test Facility in El Segundo, Calif. During testing, the first Starliner that will carry people to space was subjected to similar environmental conditions it will see on launch, ascent and orbit.

"Environmental testing is one of the most challenging campaigns of any spaceflight development program, and we succeeded in under 100 days," said John Mulholland, Vice President and Program Manager, Boeing's Commercial Crew Program. "Thorough ground testing is a critical part of our strategy to ensure the shortest possible time between flight tests and long-duration missions for our NASA customer."

In Boeing's acoustic chamber, test teams subjected Starliner to intense sound waves that simulated liftoff and ascent. In the large thermal-vacuum chamber, the spacecraft experienced extreme temperature swings, from freezing cold to heat from solar radiation in a vacuum simulating the space environment. Finally, teams tested the spacecraft's systems for potential electromagnetic interferences in a highly specialized, noise-free anechoic chamber.

The complex series of tests was needed to qualify Starliner for repeated missions to and from the International Space Station, with crew safety always the top priority.

In addition to environmental qualification testing, another version of Starliner specifically created for structural testing was put through hundreds of unique conditions, which yielded several billion points of data needed to validate Starliner's structural design. Read more about that testing here.

"We put the spacecraft through a gauntlet of tests to prove it's ready," said Boeing Test & Evaluation's Space Environmental Test Leader Brad Mejia. "Everything we needed to conduct the testing, including a team of experts who are used to testing for space, are right here in southern California."

Having successfully completed environmental qualification testing, the spacecraft was carefully packaged and shipped via semi-truck back to Florida, where it will first leave the planet. There, teams will continue readying the spacecraft for that highly-anticipated first crewed launch into space.

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United Launch Alliance (ULA) release
Atlas V departs factory for historic mission

The first Atlas V rocket to launch astronauts into space emerged from the United Launch Alliance factory today, rolling into a giant cargo ship for transport to Cape Canaveral.

Above: The Atlas V booster and Centaur stages leave the Decatur factory on May 23, 2019 for the CFT launch.

ULA built the Atlas V at the sprawling 1.6-million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Decatur, Alabama, taking raw materials and turning them into a rocket to launch the first crew of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft.

After speeches celebrating the milestone by Alabama elected officials and ULA and Boeing dignitaries in attendance, ULA workers moved the Atlas V booster stage and Centaur upper stage down the road for loading into the Mariner vessel docked nearby.

The 312-foot-long ship is purpose-built to navigate both shallow waters of rivers and ocean travel to reach ULA's launch sites. It has been making the trek from Decatur to Cape Canaveral since 2001.

Above: The Atlas first stage for CFT travels down the road the Decatur dock.

This rocket, known as AV-082, will launch Starliner on the Crew Flight Test (CFT) to the International Space Station part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. CFT will follow the maiden voyage of Starliner, the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test (OFT) targeted for August.

Aboard will be Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson, a three-time space shuttle astronaut and commander of space shuttle Atlantis on the final shuttle mission; NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, a veteran of three spaceflights, including two long-duration stays on the International Space Station, and NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, a spaceflight rookie making her first trip into space.

Once at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the Atlas V will begin integrated operations and processing for the CFT launch.

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collectSPACE
Astronaut Chris Ferguson withdraws from Boeing Starliner test flight

Boeing's first commercial astronaut has stepped down from commanding the first crewed test flight of the company's new spacecraft, citing family commitments.

Chris Ferguson has been replaced by NASA astronaut Barry "Butch" Wilmore aboard the CST-100 Starliner Crewed Flight Test (CFT), which is targeted to lift off to the International Space Station in 2021. The change comes two years after Ferguson was assigned to fly on the mission with NASA astronauts Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann.

"Next year is very important for my family. I have made several commitments, which I simply cannot risk missing," said Ferguson in a video statement on Wednesday (Oct. 7). "I'm not going anywhere, I'm just not going to space next year."

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Mann reassigned from Starliner Crew Flight Test

NASA has reassigned astronaut Nicole Mann to the agency's SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station as part of the Commercial Crew Program.

Mann was previously assigned to Boeing's Crew Flight Test. NASA decided it was important to make this reassignment to allow Boeing time to complete the development of Starliner while continuing plans for astronauts (like Mann) to gain spaceflight experience for the future needs of the agency's missions.

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Mike Fincke will continue to provide experience for Boeing as the agency prepares for NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test. Additional Boeing flight assignments will be made in the future.

Mann is a California native and a colonel in the Marine Corps. She earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Master of Science in mechanical engineering with a specialty in fluid mechanics from Stanford University. She is an F/A-18 test pilot with more than 2,500 flight hours in more than 25 aircraft. NASA selected Mann as an astronaut in 2013. This will be her first trip to space.

"It has been the opportunity of a lifetime to train on a brand-new spacecraft, the Boeing Starliner, and it has been fantastic to work with the Boeing team," Mann said. "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to train on another new spacecraft – the SpaceX Crew Dragon – and appreciate the teams at NASA who have made that possible. I am ready to fly and serve on the International Space Station."

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NASA assigns two astronauts to Boeing's Starliner crew flight test

NASA has selected the first crew to fly on board Boeing's new commercial spacecraft.

Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Suni Williams will fly on the Crew Flight Test (CFT) of the CST-100 Starliner capsule, launching as soon as perhaps later this year. The two veteran astronauts will spend about two weeks in Earth orbit, with most of the mission spent at the International Space Station.

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Boeing release
NASA, Boeing adjust Starliner Crew Flight Test launch date

The Crew Flight Test (CFT) of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner is now targeted to launch in April 2023, a window Boeing and NASA agree is the optimal timeframe for the International Space Station visiting vehicle schedule.

"We understand our customer must consider the needs of the International Space Station in scheduling the certification flight of a second U.S. commercial crew transportation system," said Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager for the Starliner program. "We are working to have the CFT vehicle ready to fly ahead of the new launch date."

The refurbishment of a previously flown crew module and production of a new service module for CFT are continuing at Boeing's Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility in Florida. Once both modules are complete, they'll be mated and tested for flight.

The Starliner team recently completed a successful Crew Validation Test (CVT) with NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore, Suni Williams and Mike Fincke. CVT is a critical milestone conducted near completion of the crew module and is a measure of confidence for the astronauts as they progress toward launch.

Boeing and NASA are working together to achieve flight readiness. In-flight anomalies from Starliner's Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) are on a path to close in the coming weeks, following thorough data reviews, fault tree analyses, and agreed-to mitigation plans.

"Starliner's two uncrewed orbital flight tests provided invaluable information about our spacecraft," Nappi said. "Additional learnings are expected as Starliner transitions from a fully autonomous flight without crew to flights with crew. With the help of experienced NASA test pilots, Wilmore and Williams, we are closer to our goal of flying a safe and capable spacecraft."

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Boeing release
Teams Train for Starliner's First Crewed Flight

NASA and Boeing teams continue to conduct training and testing ahead of the Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT), scheduled to launch in April 2023 to the International Space Station for the agency's Commercial Crew Program.

For the crewed flight test, Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, returning approximately eight days later in White Sands, New Mexico.

Most recently, the CFT Super Suited Week took place at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston in late October through early November. During the training, NASA astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Suni Williams, CFT commander and pilot, respectively, and Mike Fincke, CFT backup spacecraft test pilot, donned their spacesuits while participating in various simulations, good day and bad day scenarios, and spacecraft ingress and egress. The event also gave the crew extended time to get comfortable wearing their suits.

Prior to that, the astronauts participated in a crew validation test in October to evaluate and fine tune operations. These tests provide astronauts with hands-on training while giving the launch pad crew further experience with crucial tasks. In addition, teams can address issues encountered during previous checks and identify items that still need to be resolved prior to launch.

During the exercise, the astronauts suited up and tested the pressurized crew module to assess seat fit, suit functionality, cabin temperature, audio, and day of launch operations. The teams cycled through different environmental control configurations and flow rates, including oxygen and emergency gas, so the crew will be accustomed to a variety of scenarios on orbit. The astronauts also familiarized themselves with camera, tablet, and wireless application set-up. Communication checks went well between the Mission Control Center and the crew in the spacecraft.

Overall, the training activities gave the astronauts and support teams confidence in operations and built their knowledge base for subsequent flight preparation activities.

"Preparing for this flight doesn't feel like traditional training that Suni and I went through for missions on the space shuttle or Soyuz," Wilmore said. "We're thoroughly embedded in all aspects of developing a brand-new spacecraft, making this more akin to an experimental process. The entire team is learning how to plan, train, and fly Starliner into space."

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Boeing release
Starliner Spacecraft Readied for Crew Flight Test

The Starliner spacecraft for the Crew Flight Test (CFT) is now complete, following the mating of its crew and service modules.

Above: The Starliner team works to finalize the mate of the crew module and new service module for the Crew Flight Test that will take NASA astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Sunita "Suni" Williams to and from the International Space Station. (Boeing/John Grant)

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner team completed the production milestone on Thursday, Jan. 19, in advance of the planned April launch with NASA astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Sunita "Suni" Williams to the International Space Station.

During the operation, a crane lifted the reusable crew module atop the brand-new service module in the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center to become a fully operational spacecraft.

"Every member of our team is invested in giving Butch and Suni a great ride to the International Space Station," said Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager for the Starliner program. "We're building off the successes and lessons learned from Orbital Flight Test-2, and all of the pieces for CFT are coming together."

With a completed spacecraft, teams will continue outfitting the crew module's interior, conducting integrated vehicle testing and performing final spacecraft checkouts. The spacecraft will then undergo weight and center of gravity testing prior to rolling out of the Starliner factory en route to its United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch complex.

CFT is targeted to launch in April 2023, in accordance with the International Space Station visiting vehicle schedule.

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Boeing release
Starliner Crew Performs Cabin Operations, Checks Out Tools

NASA astronauts assigned to the Starliner's upcoming Crew Flight Test (CFT) completed the first part of a two-part Crew Equipment Interface Test (CEIT) this week. CEIT is a critical milestone for NASA, Boeing and the International Space Station program, typically conducted about two months prior to launch. It gives astronauts the opportunity for hands-on training with the actual tools, equipment and hardware they'll use on orbit.

Above: NASA astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore, Sunita "Suni" Williams and Mike Fincke review some cargo items for the Crew Flight Test with Deanna "Dee" Dobson, Boeing Starliner's Crew and Cargo Accommodations subsystem engineer. (Boeing/John Proferes)

For Starliner's first flight with crew, that included various familiarization operations inside the spacecraft for NASA astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Sunita "Suni" Williams, who are CFT commander and pilot, respectively, and backup test pilot NASA astronaut Mike Fincke.

Over the course of two days, the CFT crew worked closely with the Starliner team to perform in-cabin checkouts. They made adjustments to the spacecraft seats; inspected spacecraft interfaces; removed and replaced cargo shelf pins; and conducted floor panel and side hatch operations. They also had a chance to look over cargo and get hands-on experience with spacecraft tools prior to packing and stowing.

The second part of CEIT is scheduled to occur in early March, and will include the astronauts maneuvering about the cabin with cargo installed in the spacecraft.

Above: NASA astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Sunita "Suni" Williams test their spacesuit gloves on an Instrument and Control Panel as part of Crew Equipment Interface Test (CEIT) on February 22, 2023 at Boeing's Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility. (Boeing/Deborah Circelli)

Above: NASA astronauts Sunita "Suni" Williams and Mike Fincke in the Crew Flight Test (CFT) vehicle as part of the Crew Equipment Interface Test (CEIT) on February 21, 2023 at Boeing's Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility. (Boeing/John Proferes)

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Boeing release
Starliner's Crew Flight Test now targeted for July

NASA and Boeing are now targeting July for the Starliner's Crew Flight Test (CFT) as the teams work together to close out verification items and the agency manages a busy flight schedule to and from the International Space Station (ISS) during the next few months.

Representatives from NASA's Commercial Crew and ISS programs announced the update at a media telecon Wednesday (March 29). While the Starliner spacecraft build is complete, additional time is needed to close out verification and validation work prior to the system's first flight with crew on board.

"We are very proud of the work the team has done," said Mark Nappi, vice president and Starliner program manager. "We understand the significance of this mission for both us and NASA. We will launch when we are ready and that includes at a time when the International Space Station can accept our vehicle."

Meanwhile, the spacecraft's integrated vehicle testing is going well. The crew module's interior is in its flight configuration and cargo is loaded with the exception of late-stow items. Last week, NASA astronauts and CFT Commander Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Pilot Sunita "Suni" Williams, and backup pilot Mike Fincke, finished the second part of the Crew Equipment Interface Testing milestone. They maneuvered around the spacecraft getting hands-on experience with the tools and equipment they will use during the flight test.

Wilmore, Williams and Fincke will also conduct several simulations focused on the spacecraft's backup manual flight mode for added redundancy in the event of an emergency. Fueling the spacecraft and loading updated software flight parameters ensuring alignment with the ISS will be conducted closer to launch.

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NASA release
NASA, Boeing Provide Update on Starliner Flight Test Readiness

NASA and Boeing completed a joint Crew Flight Test checkpoint review May 25 ahead of the first flight of Starliner with astronauts to the International Space Station. During the checkpoint, mission teams reviewed open work ahead of launch planned no earlier than July 21, including emerging issues that need a path to closure prior to a decision to fuel the spacecraft in June.

"We are taking a methodical approach to the first crewed flight of Starliner incorporating all of the lessons learned from the various in-depth testing campaigns, including Starliner's flight tests and the agency's verification efforts," said Steve Stich, manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. "All Orbital Flight Test-2 anomalies are closed. In addition to the closeout of ongoing work, the team remains vigilant on tracking new technical issues as we complete certification for crewed flight."

As part of the ongoing effort, 95% of the Crew Flight Test certification products are complete. This includes approval of Starliner's crew module batteries, based on additional testing and analysis, along with post-certification flight mitigations and a proposed battery upgrade for future missions. Teams are conducting final spacecraft closeouts and preparing for upcoming hardware milestones, including spacecraft fueling, spacecraft rollout to the launch site, and integration with the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

While the team continues to work the remaining certification products, they also are working resolution paths on the following items:

Teams will remove and replace a by-pass valve on the active thermal control system, which is located on the Starliner service module and is used to flow coolant into the system to cool the onboard avionics. The Starliner team is replacing the valve that was restricting flow to one of two redundant loops, and running a diagnostic to confirm the suspected issue with the malfunctioning hardware. This work is expected to take about a week with no overall impact to the launch schedule at this time.

Engineers also are working to evaluate any elevated risk from a specific type of tape used on the spacecraft to protect wires from chaffing. Although the tape is commonly used in spaceflight, the adhesive properties of the tape could present a flammability risk under certain conditions. NASA and Boeing are evaluating this material and the system's overall wiring protection to confirm it is acceptable for crewed flight. Those efforts are ongoing and are expected to complete before Boeing begins fueling operations on the spacecraft.

NASA and Boeing also are working to reassess Starliner's parachute system margins based on new data reviews as part of the ongoing design certification process. Engineers are reviewing the overall efficiency of certain joints within the parachute system to confirm they meet all required factors of safety for crewed flight.

"Crew safety remains the highest priority for NASA and its industry providers, and emerging issues are not uncommon in human spaceflight especially during development," said Stich. "If you look back two months ago at the work we had ahead of us, it's almost all complete. The combined team is resilient and resolute in their goal of flying crew on Starliner as soon as it is safe to do so. If a schedule adjustment needs to be made in the future, then we will certainly do that as we have done before. We will only fly when we are ready."

Starliner spacecraft fueling is expected to begin as early as mid-June, and there is some operational flexibility in that timeline that can be used if needed. Teams will continue to monitor the forward work and determine whether an adjustment in the current launch date is needed. An update on the team's progress will be provided in the coming weeks.

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Boeing release
Boeing Statement on Starliner CFT Status

Boeing's priority for Starliner's Crew Flight Test is the safe launch, docking and return of Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams. For that reason, we have recommended to NASA that we reevaluate our launch window to allow for closing out the remaining technical and certification items.

We were notified by the parachute supplier of an issue, identified through testing, that reduced our safety margin. Our engineering team provided additional analysis and given that, we determined the safest course of action was to stand down for the July launch opportunity.

We are now determining when we will be ready to launch, but anticipate additional parachute testing. We are committed to the Starliner program and are working closely with NASA to identify a new launch date.

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NASA, Boeing Provide Update on Starliner Crew Flight Test

NASA and Boeing teams continue to make progress in preparing for Starliner's first crewed flight to and from the International Space Station.

In a media teleconference Aug. 7, leaders from NASA and Boeing discussed the path forward for the spacecraft, including work to address technical concerns with the vehicle's parachutes and the use of flammable tape that was identified during the agency's certification process to ensure the system meets crew safety requirements.

The Starliner team expects to have the Crew Flight Test spacecraft ready in March 2024. A specific target launch date will be set closer to spacecraft readiness, and with consideration of the International Space Station, United Launch Alliance, and Eastern Range availability.

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NASA release
Progress Continues Toward Crew Flight Test

NASA and Boeing are working to complete the agency's verification and validation activities ahead of Starliner's first flight with astronauts to the International Space Station. While Boeing is targeting March to have the spacecraft ready for flight, teams decided during a launch manifest evaluation that a launch in April will better accommodate upcoming crew rotations and cargo resupply missions this spring.

Above: Inside Boeing's Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 19, 2023, the Starliner team works to finalize the mate of the crew module and new service module for NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test that will take NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams to and from the International Space Station. (Boeing/John Grant)

Once the spacecraft meets the agency's safety requirements, NASA's Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test (CFT) will see astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams perform the first crewed mission of the spacecraft designed to take astronauts to and from the orbital laboratory.

Ahead of CFT, Boeing has completed P213 tape removal in the upper dome of the Starliner crew compartment and work is underway to remove or remediate the tape in the lower dome of the spacecraft. These hardware remediation efforts inside the Starliner production facility at NASA Kennedy are expected to be completed during the next several weeks. After the P213 tape remediation efforts conclude, engineers will conduct final assessments to ensure acceptable risk of any remaining tape.

A set of parachutes is on track to be delivered and installed on the CFT spacecraft by the end of this year to support the current target launch date. Separately, the team also is planning a drop test of Starliner's updated drogue and main parachutes. The parachutes will incorporate a planned strengthening of main canopy suspension lines and the recent design of the drogue and main parachute soft-link joints, which will increase the safety factor for the system. The drop test is planned for early 2024 based on the current parachute delivery schedule.

Boeing and NASA also are planning modifications to the active thermal control system valves to improve long-term functionality following a radiator bypass valve issue discovered during ground operations earlier this year. As discussed during a Starliner media teleconference in June, teams have modified the spacecraft hardware and identified forward work to prevent a similar issue in the future. Options include a system purge to prevent stiction, component upgrades and operational mitigations.

Additionally, about 98% of the certification products required for the flight test are complete, and NASA and Boeing anticipate closure on remaining CFT certification products early next year. Meanwhile, NASA and Boeing have made significant progress on requirement closures related to manual crew control of the spacecraft and abort system analysis.

The latest version of Starliner's CFT flight software completed qualification testing and is undergoing standard hardware and software integration testing inside Boeing's Avionics and Software Integration Lab. Starliner's crew and service modules remain mated and await continuation of standard preflight processing.

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket also is in Florida at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station awaiting integration with the spacecraft.

The NASA astronauts who will fly aboard CFT continue to train for their roughly eight-day mission to the orbiting laboratory, which includes working with operations and mission support teams to participate in various simulations across all phases of flight.

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NASA release
Starliner Parachute System Upgrade Tested Before Crewed Flight

A modified parachute system for Boeing's Starliner spacecraft for NASA's Commercial Crew Program was tested over the Arizona desert on Jan. 9. Parachute deployment and a soft landing of the test article were visually confirmed. Preliminary data analysis of this two-parachute test suggest the primary test objectives were met. Engineering teams will continue to review the results, inspect the test parachutes, and work to complete system certification in the weeks ahead.

Above: A NASA C-130 cargo aircraft releases a dart-shaped test vehicle above the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground on Jan. 9 to begin the testing sequence for a Boeing Starliner parachute system. (U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground)

In the meantime, NASA and Boeing are proceeding with preparations for Starliner to carry astronauts for the first time to the International Space Station during the Crew Flight Test, currently slated to launch no earlier than mid-April on a mission lasting about 10 days.

The drop test, which used a Starliner parachute system attached to a dart-shaped sled the same weight as a Starliner, was performed to confirm the functioning of a redesigned and strengthened soft link joint that is part of the network of lines connecting the parachutes to the spacecraft. The test also validated a change to strengthen one textile joint in the parachute, increasing overall parachute robustness. As with other capsules, Starliner relies on parachutes to land safely when it returns to Earth.

Above: A pair of parachutes lower the dart-shaped test vehicle to the ground to conclude the drop test for a modified parachute for the Starliner spacecraft. (U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground)

A C-130 cargo aircraft from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virgina, carried the test article and parachutes high above the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona before releasing them. Engineering teams, CFT astronauts Butch Wilmore, Suni Williams and Starliner-1 astronaut Mike Fincke watched from the drop zone below. The Starliner main parachutes were lifted from the test article using flight-like pilot parachutes before inflating fully to slow the test dart to the same soft-landing velocity experienced by the Starliner spacecraft in flight.

Starliner completed two uncrewed flight tests including Orbital Flight Test-2, which docked to the space station on May 21, 2022.

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NASA release
NASA, Boeing Move into Next Phases of Flight Test Prep

NASA and Boeing teams are preparing for a flight test no earlier than mid-April in which the Starliner spacecraft will carry two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

Teams have made significant progress in resolving technical issues identified during the agency's flight certification process. Following a successful drop test earlier this month in which recent modifications to Starliner's parachute system were validated, NASA and Boeing are working to perform final analysis of the test data and complete overall system certification ahead of Starliner's first crewed flight. This standard NASA process is designed to independently verify Starliner's parachute system meets crew safety requirements and is expected to continue over the next six to eight weeks.

Meanwhile, Boeing completed removal of P213 tape that may have posed a flammability risk in certain environmental conditions. Boeing removed more than 17 pounds, or roughly 4,300 feet, of the material from the Starliner crew module. For areas in which removal of the tape carried an increased risk to Starliner hardware, Boeing applied tested remediation techniques such as overwrapping the P213 tape with another non-flammable, chafe-resistant tape, and installing fire breaks on wire harnesses. The agency worked to clarify the properties and safe usage guidance relative to P213 tape in the NASA Materials Usage Agreements database to prevent a similar misapplication from occurring across industry in the future.

Additionally, major integrated flight operations exercises are underway. Mission support teams recently completed a two-day undock to landing mission dress rehearsal with recovery personnel on the ground at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Teams simulated Crew Flight Test procedures and spacecraft sequences starting with pre-undock powerup and continuing through undock, entry, landing, and crew recovery. The exercise provided an additional training opportunity for NASA and Boeing to practice Starliner's return to Earth in a high-fidelity environment before the flight.

Teams from ULA (United Launch Alliance) are preparing the Atlas V rocket hardware for processing and spacecraft integration. Boeing is targeting completion of Starliner assembly at the end of January. The upgraded parachutes were delivered and installed on the spacecraft, along with Starliner's forward heat shield and ascent cover. Prior to fueling operations, following final installation of thermal protection system blankets and internal closeout work, Boeing will begin flowing a nitrogen purge into the Starliner's service module to ensure ambient moisture does not permeate into the propulsion isolation or active thermal control system valves. In the weeks ahead, NASA and Boeing will work to identify any remaining work before loading Starliner propellant.

The next couple of months teams will:

  • work to complete overall Crew Flight Test certification;
  • put the finishing touches on the Starliner spacecraft, which is already joined to its service module;
  • run simulations of operational conditions to rehearse every phase of the mission with the crew, flight controllers, and ground operations teams;
  • fuel the spacecraft with propellants for its onboard thrusters for in-space maneuvering;
  • stack the ULA Atlas V rocket and Starliner spacecraft before rolling them to the pad at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida;
  • and work through detailed systems reviews, culminating with a flight readiness review in the days before launch to verify the system and teams are ready.
Starliner's Crew Flight Test will launch NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams to the orbiting laboratory for a stay of one to two weeks before returning them to a landing in the southwest United States. The mission will mirror the tasks of regular crew rotation flights for Boeing's Starliner under contracts with NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

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Boeing release
Fueling begins for the Starliner Crew Flight Test

Loading the spacecraft with propellant is the next milestone on the path to launch.

Spacecraft fueling has begun for the upcoming Crew Flight Test (CFT) as the Starliner team prepares to send its first crew to the International Space Station.

Above: The Starliner team recently moved the spacecraft to the Hazardous Processing Area inside the factory at the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility in Florida to prepare for fueling. (Boeing/John Grant)

The Starliner spacecraft, consisting of a reusable crew and expendable service module, was recently moved into the Hazardous Processing Area at Boeing's Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility (C3PF) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Fueling the spacecraft will take a little more than two weeks.

Conducting the propellant loading operation is a team made up of specially trained technicians, as well as fluids, propellant and electrical test engineers. To perform the operation, technicians wear what's called a SCAPE suit. SCAPE stands for Self-Contained Atmospheric Protective Ensemble and the suit protects them from any hazardous commodities. Throughout the operation, test teammates monitor the spacecraft, including sensors and valves, as well as the environment within the C3PF.

Following fueling, final closeout activities will be performed for the spacecraft's rollout from the factory to United Launch Alliance's Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Closeout activities include removing propellant access panels, placing environmental covers over the spacecraft's thrust nozzle outlets, performing thermal protection system work, checking the spacecraft's final weight and center of gravity, and loading it onto the transport vehicle.

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Boeing release
Starliner fueled for Crew Flight Test

With propellant loading complete, the Boeing spacecraft soon will be transported to the launch site.

The Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is fully fueled for the Crew Flight Test (CFT), now targeted to launch to the International Space Station on May 6.

Over the past two weeks, specially trained technicians loaded five different commodities into the spacecraft. Each commodity goes in individually and in sequential order under the careful direction of Starliner's test team.

"Samples were taken and specialized tests were conducted throughout the propellent loading process to ensure the safety of the team performing the operation and the safe operation of the spacecraft on orbit," said Mark Sorensen, Starliner CFT Crew Module lead.

Up next for the spacecraft is a final weight and center-of-gravity check. In mid-April, the spacecraft will be transported to United Launch Alliance's Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida and integrated to the top of the Atlas V rocket.

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Boeing release
Starliner Rollout Preparations Continue

Weight and center-of-gravity operations complete

Following fueling and checkout operations, the Boeing team moved the Crew Flight Test spacecraft out of the Starliner facility's hazardous processing area to a machine that weighs and measures the center of gravity (CG) of the spacecraft. Using the high bay crane, the engineers and technicians lifted Starliner into place and secured it onto the machine.

Above: CFT Starliner spacecraft during final weight and CG. (Boeing)

Previous weigh-ins of the Crew Module and Service Module, where the weight and CG machine tilts the elements up to 30 degrees along their principle axes, were taken to get highly accurate measurements of the individual elements. Once mated, loaded with cargo and fueled, a final weight and CG measurement is taken of the completed spacecraft.

Through this method, engineers are able to validate an accurate center of gravity of the entire integrated spacecraft, which needs to be within a volume about the size of an American quarter. Accurate weight and CG measurements are critical to the nominal performance of both the entire integrated spacecraft and launch vehicle during ascent and the spacecraft during on-orbit maneuvers and reentry.

Above: Starliner on the KAMAG in the Starliner factory. (Boeing)

After the weight and CG measurements, the Boeing team used the high bay crane again to move Starliner to a staging area inside the high bay, where a transport vehicle provided by ULA known as a KAMAG, or "K-MAG," was waiting. The team then secured Starliner to the transporter, where it is now ready for the overnight trek to its launch site, Space Launch Complex-41.

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NASA photo release
Boeing CFT Starliner rolled out

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft, set to carry NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams on the agency's Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station, rolls out of the company's Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.

The spacecraft is being transported to ULA's (United Launch Alliance) Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station to be lifted and connected to the Atlas V rocket for launch no earlier than Monday, May 6, 2024.

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Boeing release
Starliner takes its place atop an Atlas V rocket

The spacecraft moves closer to launch after an early morning factory rollout.

Starliner teammates cheered as the headlights of the transporter slowly neared the corner of the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility, soon revealing the Crew Flight Test spacecraft they've worked so hard on.

Knowing NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, who were also watching with them, will be flying on board for Starliner's first crewed flight makes the milestone even more special for the team.

The Starliner rolled out from the back of the factory on a transport vehicle and left the parking lot at about 5 a.m. Eastern time. It made a slow, carefully orchestrated 10-mile (16-kilometer) trek to United Launch Alliance's Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The spacecraft was later hoisted and integrated on top of ULA's Atlas V rocket. Work will continue in the VIF before the May 6 launch to ensure the Atlas V and spacecraft are properly communicating with each other prior to launch.

The milestone has special meaning for launch campaign managers Richard Skinner and Amanda Ireland.

For Skinner, the rollout signifies nearing the end of a long career in human spaceflight, starting with working shuttle payloads in 1980 for McDonnell Douglas. He has also worked for ULA and the Space Launch System and was brought on to help Starliner with the orbital flight tests and then through the first crewed flight.

"Having a chance to get to meet and personally know our flight crew members, it will mean that much more when we see them leave for the pad," said Skinner, who is also the convoy coordinator overseeing the transport operation of crew to ULA's launch complex.

Ireland, who is also lead of launch operations and sits on console as the spacecraft liaison officer during launch, has been on the Starliner program for five years.

"Doing this work has been my dream job for a long time and it continues to be," Ireland said. "So seeing us launch astronauts means everything."

The two coordinated the rollout along with teams from Boeing and ULA, as well as Boeing and NASA security, and the U.S. Space Force.

A lot is involved before rollout, including making sure various antennas and GPS systems are working correctly in communicating information back and forth from the rocket to the Boeing Mission Control Center.

Now that the spacecraft is mated to the Atlas V, that work continues. Teams will go through a series of functional testing to make sure everything is connected correctly and communicating properly with the spacecraft and rocket.

Functionally this rollout was similar in nature to previous rollouts, Ireland said, including "treating the spacecraft with the greatest care and detail." Ireland said the importance of having a successful Crew Flight Test is essential in ensuring multiple providers are able to reach different low Earth orbit locations in the future while advancing human spaceflight.

Another teammate, Mackenzie Palafox, worked with Skinner and Ireland on the rollout. Palafox has been with Starliner a little over a year, primarily as a manufacturing engineer, and agreed to take on the additional responsibilities to assist the launch campaign managers.

"I am so proud to be a part of this company's legacy in human spaceflight," Palafox said. "It's really amazing to see it all coming together."

Other members of the Starliner team were also on hand to watch the spacecraft leave the factory.

They cheered and snapped photos as the spacecraft made its way from around the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility.

Carol Wingrove, an electrical technician, who has been on the Starliner program for nine years, was thrilled to see the Starliner astronauts watching the rollout and all the support they've provided the team.

"I'm excited for everyone. We've waited so long," Wingrove said. "We have astronauts on board. We made it. It took a lot of hard work from everybody, but it's worth it to get to this point."

Max Plavcan, Starliner Crew & Cargo Accommodations systems engineer, attended his first rollout. He started on Starliner as an intern in 2017 and was hired full time in 2020.

"It all feels surreal," Plavcan said.

Rob Hughes, Starliner manufacturing engineer for four years, said he's looking forward to sending crew to the space station and welcoming them home.

"This is why we all do this," Hughes said. "It makes all the hard work we've done really pay off."

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Boeing release
NASA gives Starliner 'go to proceed'

Team prepares for the spacecraft's first crewed flight to the International Space Station.

Boeing and NASA are proceeding with plans for the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft's Crew Flight Test following a Flight Test Readiness Review at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The readiness review is a standard pre-launch milestone ahead of all human spaceflight missions, and is a forum for technical briefings and discussions for NASA and its partners to align on readiness.

Carrying NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, Starliner will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket no earlier than 10:34 p.m. Eastern time on May 6 from Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Starliner arrived at Space Launch Complex-41 on April 16 after making the trek from the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center. Starliner was placed atop the Atlas V rocket and is scheduled to be transported a short distance to the pad on May 4.

During the test flight, Commander Wilmore and pilot Williams and the Boeing team will test the end-to-end capabilities of the Starliner system from pre-launch to docking at the International Space Station, and from undocking to landing and recovery.

Following a successful test, NASA will work to complete certification of the Starliner spacecraft and systems for regular crew rotation missions to the space station.

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United Launch Alliance (ULA) release
On the pad!

Our Atlas V rocket has arrived at its Cape Canaveral pad to launch two astronauts Monday night (May 6) on Boeing's Crew Flight Test in NASA's Commercial Crew Program. Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, both retired Navy captains, space shuttle fliers and past long-duration residents aboard the International Space Station, will test the Starliner spacecraft in preparation for regular crew rotation missions to the station beginning next year.

The MLP has been lowered onto the launch pad piers, accomplishing the "harddown" milestone at 11:36 a.m. EDT.

Over the next few hours today, umbilical connections will be made with launch pad systems, the environmental control system feeding conditioned air to the rocket and payload will be switched to facility supplies to allow the portable trailers used during rollout to be unplugged and moved away. Later in the afternoon, the first stage will be loaded with its 25,000 gallons of storable RP-1 propellant, a highly refined kerosene fuel.

The 11-hour launch countdown will begin Monday morning, leading to a liftoff at precisely 10:34:14 p.m. EDT (0234:14 UTC).

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collectSPACE
Boeing Starliner brings astronaut launches back to Atlas rocket and Cape Canaveral

The launch of two astronauts on a Boeing commercial spacecraft will mark a first for the company, but will also bring U.S. human spaceflight back to a rocket and launch site that has not been used by crews for more than 50 years.

The Crew Flight Test (CFT) for Boeing's CST-100 Starliner capsule will fly NASA astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Sunita "Suni" Williams on an 8-day mission to the International Space Station.

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Boeing release
Starliner powered up, RP1 tanking complete on Atlas V

On Sunday, May 5, engineers took their positions on console in Boeing's Mission Control Center (BMCC) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to power up and activate the Starliner spacecraft ahead of the Crew Flight Test (CFT).

The spacecraft will remain powered on from now until it enters quiescent mode at the International Space Station. Throughout that time, Boeing engineers will work in shifts to continuously monitor the spacecraft and its systems. Commanding of the vehicle will come from the BMCC team until handover to Starliner mission controllers in Houston at about L-3 hours, 55 minutes on launch day.

Meanwhile, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) team completed loading the Atlas V first stage with 25,000 gallons of storable RP-1 fuel, a highly refined kerosene.

Both the Starliner and Atlas V, stacked at the launch pad at Space Launch Complex-41, are healthy ahead of liftoff planned for Monday, May 6, at 10:34 p.m. ET.

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Boeing release
Atlas V tanking complete, crew proceeding to spacecraft

Starliner nears first crew launch to the International Space Station for NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

United Launch Alliance's Atlas V liquid cryogenic fuel tanks on the booster and upper stages are now fueled and the launch vehicle is in stable replenish mode. Now that the rocket is in a stable condition and dynamic loading of cryogenic propellants is complete, launch teams have entered an extended, planned hold to allow ingress of the Crew Flight Test astronauts into Boeing's CST-100 Starliner.

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams are en route to the launch pad where the joint Boeing-United Launch Alliance pad team is preparing for their arrival. Once there, the team will open the hatch, load the astronauts into Starliner and conduct final closeout procedures.

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Boeing release
First Launch Attempt for Starliner Crew Flight Test Scrubbed

Flight teams standing down due to valve issue on upper stage of launch vehicle.

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, on the launch pad of Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Monday, May 6. (NASA photo)

United Launch Alliance (ULA), with concurrence from Boeing and NASA, scrubbed the launch a little more than two hours ahead of the originally scheduled liftoff time of the CST-100 Starliner Crew Flight Test on Monday, May 6. NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams safely exited Starliner and returned to crew quarters, following the decision to stand down from launch for the day.

The scrub was recommended after launch control teams detected anomalous behavior by the pressure regulation valve in the liquid oxygen tank of the Centaur upper stage of the ULA Atlas V launch vehicle. Engineers are analyzing the data to fully understand the issue and determine any corrective actions. Mission managers will convene to decide next steps and potential timing for another launch attempt.

Update: Boeing, NASA and United Launch Alliance have made the decision to allow engineering teams to spend Tuesday, May 7, evaluating the data and the next launch opportunity will be no earlier than Friday, May 10.

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Faulty valve to be replaced, launch retargeted

The launch of Boeing's Crew Flight Test is now targeted for no earlier than Friday, May 17 at 6:16 p.m. EDT (2216 GMT).

Following a thorough data review completed on Tuesday (May 7), United Launch Alliance (ULA) decided to replace a liquid oxygen tank pressure regulation valve on the Atlas V rocket’s Centaur upper stage.

ULA plans to roll the rocket back to its Vertical Integration Facility on Wednesday to begin the replacement. The ULA team will perform leak checks and functional checkouts in support of the next launch attempt.

The oscillating behavior of the valve during prelaunch operations ultimately resulted in mission teams calling a launch scrub on May 6. After the ground crews and astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams safely exited from Space Launch Complex-41, the ULA team successfully commanded the valve closed and the oscillations were temporarily dampened.

The oscillations then re-occurred twice during fuel removal operations. After evaluating the valve history, data signatures from the launch attempt, and assessing the risks relative to continued use, the ULA team determined the valve exceeded its qualification and mission managers agreed to remove and replace the valve.

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Boeing release
NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test Eyes Next Launch Opportunity

NASA, Boeing, and ULA (United Launch Alliance) teams continue working remaining open tasks in preparation for the agency's Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station. The teams now are targeting a launch date of no earlier than 4:43 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 21, to complete additional testing.

On May 11, the ULA team successfully replaced a pressure regulation valve on the liquid oxygen tank on the Atlas V rocket's Centaur upper stage. The team also performed re-pressurization and system purges, and tested the new valve, which performed normally.

Starliner teams are working to resolve a small helium leak detected in the spacecraft's service module traced to a flange on a single reaction control system thruster. Helium is used in spacecraft thruster systems to allow the thrusters to fire and is not combustible or toxic.

NASA and Boeing are developing spacecraft testing and operational solutions to address the issue. As a part of the testing, Boeing will bring the propulsion system up to flight pressurization just as it does prior to launch, and then allow the helium system to vent naturally to validate existing data and strengthen flight rationale. Mission teams also completed a thorough review of the data from the May 6 launch attempt and are not tracking any other issues.

The Atlas V and Starliner remain in the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, still in preflight quarantine, returned to Houston on May 10 to spend extra time with their families as prelaunch operations progress. The duo will fly back to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the coming days.

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Crew Flight Test re-targeted for May 25 launch

NASA, Boeing, and ULA (United Launch Alliance) teams will take additional time to work through spacecraft closeout processes and flight rationale before proceeding with the launch of the agency's Boeing Crew Flight Test. The teams now are targeting a launch no earlier than 3:09 p.m. EDT (1909 GMT) on Saturday, May 25, for the flight test.

The additional time allows teams to further assess a small helium leak in the Boeing Starliner spacecraft's service module traced to a flange on a single reaction control system thruster.

Pressure testing performed on May 15 on the spacecraft's helium system showed the leak in the flange is stable and would not pose a risk at that level during the flight. The testing also indicated the rest of the thruster system is sealed effectively across the entire service module.

Boeing teams are working to develop operational procedures to ensure the system retains sufficient performance capability and appropriate redundancy during the flight. As that work proceeds, NASA's Commercial Crew Program and the International Space Station Program will take the next few days to review the data and procedures to make a final determination before proceeding to flight countdown.

The ULA Atlas V rocket and Boeing's Starliner remain in the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

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Boeing release
NASA, Mission Partners Assessing Launch Opportunities

Mission managers from NASA, Boeing, and ULA (United Launch Alliance) continue to evaluate a path forward toward launching the agency's Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station. The teams are now working toward a launch opportunity at 12:25 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 1, with additional opportunities on Sunday, June 2, Wednesday, June 5, and Thursday, June 6.

Work continues to assess Starliner performance and redundancy following the discovery of a small helium leak in the spacecraft's service module. As part of this work, and unrelated to the current leak which remains stable, teams are in the process of completing a follow-on propulsion system assessment to understand potential helium system impacts on some Starliner return scenarios.

NASA also will conduct a Delta-Agency Flight Test Readiness Review to discuss the work that was performed since the last CFT launch attempt on May 6, and to evaluate issue closure and flight rationale ahead of the next attempt, as part of NASA's process for assessing readiness. The date of the upcoming Flight Test Readiness Review is under consideration and will be announced once selected.

"There has been a great deal of exceptional analysis and testing over the last two weeks by the joint NASA, Boeing, and ULA teams to replace the Centaur Self Regulating Valve and troubleshoot the Starliner Service Module helium manifold leak," said Steve Stich, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program. "It has been important that we take our time to understand all the complexities of each issue including the redundant capabilities of the Starliner propulsion system and any implications to our Interim Human Rating Certification. We will launch Butch and Suni on this test mission after the entire community has reviewed the team's progress and flight rationale at the upcoming Delta Agency Flight Test Readiness Review."

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NASA release
NASA, Mission Partners 'Go' for Crew Flight Test Launch

NASA and Boeing teams polled "go" to proceed with plans to launch the agency's Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station at 12:25 p.m. EDT Saturday, June 1. During a Delta-Agency Flight Test Readiness Review Wednesday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, leaders from NASA, Boeing, and ULA (United Launch Alliance) verified launch readiness, including all systems, facilities, and teams supporting the test flight.

A backup launch opportunity is available on Sunday, June 2, with additional launch windows on Wednesday, June 5, and Thursday, June 6.

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams returned to Kennedy on May 28, and will remain in quarantine at the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building until Saturday's launch. The crew previously quarantined in Houston while mission teams worked to resolve various items with the rocket and spacecraft since scrubbing an initial launch attempt on May 6.

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Boeing release
Starliner and Atlas V Return to the Launch Pad

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft and United Launch Alliance's (ULA) Atlas V rocket have returned to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

This morning (May 30), the Boeing and ULA teams rolled the 172-foot (52-meter) tall stack, with the Starliner spacecraft mated atop the Atlas V rocket, from ULA’s Vertical Integration Facility back to the launch pad at a steady pace of about 1 mph (1.6 kph).

Next, Pad Team members will commence the final checks and preparations. These crucial hours leading up to the Crew Flight Test (CFT) launch will involve a series of meticulous inspections and tests, demonstrating the precision and care taken to ensure the vehicle's readiness and safety.

The flight test is scheduled to launch no earlier than Saturday, June 1, at 12:25 p.m. EDT.

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Boeing release
Starliner powered up for launch

Boeing subsystem experts and engineers took their positions on console in Boeing's Mission Control Center (BMCC) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to power up and activate the Starliner spacecraft ahead of the Crew Flight Test (CFT).

Powerup operations began at 3:30 a.m. EDT (0730 GMT) on May 31, and all systems are looking good. Actions included a lightning retest verification and interior configuration for launch, such as switch verification and cover installation on the spacecraft's Instrument and Control Panel (I&CP).

Teammates working in shifts will continuously monitor of the health of spacecraft until quiescent mode while Starliner is docked to the International Space Station. Commanding of the vehicle will come from the BMCC team until handover to Starliner mission controllers in Houston at about L-3 hours, 55 minutes on launch day.

Also on May 31, CFT commander Butch Wilmore and pilot Suni Williams climbed into the Starliner, stacked on the Atlas V rocket, to perform communications checks and get familiar with new and late-stow cargo. Starliner's hatch will be closed this evening ahead of Pad Team A's arrival to the launch pad in preparation for liftoff Saturday, June 1, at 12:25 p.m. EDT.

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Boeing release
Crew in seats, Starliner hatch closed

At 11:18 a.m. EDT on Saturday, June 1, Boeing engineers and technicians closed the hatch to the CST-100 Starliner after ensuring NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams were safely secured in their seats ahead of launch. Mission operators will conduct leak checks on the capsule to prove the hatch has a tight seal and is holding pressure.

The joint Boeing-United Launch Alliance pad team will depart the launch pad and to join emergency response teams stationed a safe distance away until after liftoff. Wilmore and Williams are continuing their prelaunch procedures in coordination with launch control teams in Houston and Florida.

The next major milestone ahead of launch will be polling to resume the T-4 minute countdown after the extended, planned hold to allow for crew ingress and final closeouts. Liftoff is scheduled for 12:25 p.m. EDT.

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NASA release
Scrub! Launch canceled due to automatic hold

Teams have scrubbed today's launch attempt for the Starliner Crew Flight Test due to an automatic hold of the ground launch sequencer.

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United Launch Alliance (ULA) release
Reconfiguring for a 24-hour recycle

The launch of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner on its first crewed flight on an Atlas V with two NASA astronauts on board was scrubbed at T-3:50 — 3 minutes, 50 seconds before the scheduled liftoff time of 12:25 p.m. EDT.

ULA scrubbed today's Crew Flight Test attempt due to an issue with the ground launch sequencer. The system was unsuccessful in verifying the sequencer's necessary redundancy and the team is evaluating the anomaly.

The team will complete a full assessment and is currently reconfiguring for a 24 hour recycle. We are targeting no earlier than Sunday, June 2 at 12:03 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Robert Pearlman
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NASA release
Forgoing the next launch opportunity

NASA, Boeing, and ULA (United Launch Alliance) are forgoing a Crew Flight Test launch attempt Sunday, June 2, to give the team additional time to assess a ground support equipment issue at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station's Space Launch Complex-41 in Florida.

ULA will assess the ground support equipment overnight, and NASA will provide an update June 2 on next steps for the flight. The next available launch opportunities are Wednesday, June 5, and Thursday, June 6.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-02-2024 04:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA, Mission Partners Target June 5 Crew Flight Test Launch

NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test mission teams are preparing to support a launch at 10:52 a.m. EDT Wednesday, June 5, from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on a mission of about a week to the International Space Station.

Technicians and engineers with ULA (United Launch Alliance) worked overnight and on Sunday to assess the ground support equipment at the launch pad that encountered issues during the countdown and scrubbed the June 1 launch attempt. The ULA team identified an issue with a single ground power supply within one of the three redundant chassis that provides power to a subset of computer cards controlling various system functions, including the card responsible for the stable replenishment topping valves for the Centaur upper stage. All three of these chassis are required to enter the terminal phase of the launch countdown to ensure crew safety.

On Sunday, the chassis containing the faulty ground power unit was removed, visually inspected, and replaced with a spare chassis. No signs of physical damage were observed. A full failure analysis of the power unit will be performed to better understand root cause. Meanwhile, ULA has completed functional checkouts of the new chassis and the cards, and all hardware is performing normally.

The mission managers have opted for the next launch attempt on June 5. The U.S. Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron predicts a 90% chance of favorable weather conditions, with the cumulus cloud rule being the primary weather concern. Another opportunity is available at 10:29 a.m., Thursday, June 6.

NASA astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Suni Williams, the crew of the flight test who will be the first to launch aboard Boeing's Starliner spacecraft, remain in quarantine at NASA's Kennedy Space Center and will take part in pilot proficiency and other training activities leading up to launch.


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