Boeing Starliner ready for Thursday launch

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — The Boeing Starliner CST-100 is ready for launch – again.

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NASA and Boeing are working toward regular spaceflights to the International Space Station with astronauts under the agency’s Commercial Crew program, and Thursday’s uncrewed flight test to the ISS is the next big step.

After a series of costly delays, Boeing is ready to show that the spacecraft is ready to carry NASA astronauts.

READ: NASA, Boeing teams provide update on ‘high-stakes’ Starliner flight test

The Starliner’s first uncrewed flight test launched in December 2019. However, the software issues prevented the spacecraft from ever reaching the ISS.

Boeing and NASA made it back to the launch pad last year, only to have the second fight test delayed by a valve issue.

On Thursday, teams plan to finally launch orbital flight test two at 6:54 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

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The mission will test the end-to-end capabilities of Starliner from launch to docking, re-entry and a desert landing. It will also provide the data that will help NASA certify Boeing’s spacecraft to carry astronauts, providing the agency with a crew transportation option other than the SpaceX Crew Dragon.

“We’re really looking forward to the spacecraft coming home,” NASA astronaut Suni Williams said. “That’s when the rest of the work we’ll start to happen, and we’ll get ready for the crewed flight test.”

The Starliner is expected to spend several days docked at the space station before landing out west.

READ: NASA officials give an update on the status of Artemis-I test, launch

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.