National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has revealed the launch of its Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) second mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Notably, the novel OFT-2 is the second uncrewed flight mission developed for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft under NASA’s ‘Commercial Crew Program (CCP)’ made in association with U.S. aircraft manufacturers- Boeing and SpaceX.
Citing sources, the Starliner spacecraft is expected to be launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from the Space Launch Complex-41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. Thirty minutes after the launch, Starliner is slated to perform its orbital insertion burn to commence its journey to the space station.
With this mission, NASA claims that OFT-2 will showcase the abilities of the Atlas V rocket and Starliner spacecraft, from launch, to docking, to its return to Earth with a landing in the western region of the United States. The uncrewed mission will extend integral data to NASA, helping the agency certify Boeing’s crew transportation system for regular flights to and from the space station.
For the record, the spaceship is scheduled to dock to ISS by 1.37 p.m. on August 4, 2021, carrying over 400 pounds of cargo and crew supplies to the space station. While upon return to Earth, the spaceship will carry with it over 550 pounds of cargo, including tanks from the Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System that supplies breathable air to crew members.
It is worth noting that Boeing had inked a contract with the Commercial Crew Programme of NASA in 2014 to fly operational missions to and from the space station with Starliner. Although, a line of setbacks prevented Starliner from reaching the International Space Station.
Seemingly, the latest move will offer time to the International Space Station team to work on the checkouts of the recently arrived Roscosmos' Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory module along with ensuring that the space station is set for the arrival of Starliner.