NASA announced that the launch of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner would happen later this month, on December 20. The spacecraft will have to dock with the ISS a day then, continuing there for about a week before arriving at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
Phil McAlister, director of commercial spaceflight development at NASA, released some details about some “standard open work” to be done ahead of the launch, and some other two open issues, as well. He stated: “We could move off the 20th, but right now, the 20th is looking good.” Those two open issues include a review by the ISS program to approve the Starliner flying on the mission fit the formerly confirmed design, as well as final “data loads” for the spacecraft.
However, both of those tasks will be finished before the planned December 20th launch. Until the big event, some launch preparations will be developed, such as a final cargo load into Starliner on December 14th and a rollout of the Atlas 5 with Starliner at Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 41 on December 17th.
NASA Confirms Boeing’s Starliner Test Flight On December 20th
Moreover, Starliner will transport an anthropomorphic test mannequin, called Rosie, that will examine the environment and situations, astronauts will face on the spacecraft. A completed OST mission would permit Boeing and NASA to initiate with a crewed flight test.
Astronauts Mike Fincke, Nicole Mann, and Boeing test pilot Chris Ferguson will be part of the crew. Such a bold mission will be ready to begin in the “first part of 2020,” according to John Mulholland, vice president, and program manager of Boeing’s commercial crew project.
He also added: “We’re hesitant right now to set the launch date until we get through a solid Orbital Flight Test and make sure we thoroughly review the data and understand anything we might need to do to support the Crew Flight Test.”