Starliner successfully docks with ISS

21. 5. 2022 0 By Space Seeker

After launching from SLC-41 on an Atlas V rocket, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft successfully docked to ISS. This OFT-2 mission is the second uncrewed test flight of the Starliner capsule after the failed attempt to reach the Space Station on the first orbital test flight back in 2019.

About 15 minutes after launch, the spacecraft made an initial phasing burn and a series of burns to adjust its altitude in preparation for rendezvous with the station. 25 hours and 34 minutes after lifting off, contact and docking were confirmed which marked its arrival at the orbital complex. The capsule was loaded with 230 kilograms (500 pounds) of cargo which most of is food and small components for future spacewalks and a test dummy in the commander’s seat which also flew on the original OFT mission: Rosie the Rocketeer.

Starliner’s second Orbital Flight Test was originally scheduled to liftoff in July of 2021, but during pre-launch preparations for the flight, 13 valves on the service module were stuck in incorrect configurations. The capsule had to be detached from the Atlas V rocket and the service module was replaced.

During the OFT-2 mission, Starliner is expected to complete a four-day long stay at the International Space Station before undocking for the return trip to Earth. If the return and landing will be performed successfully, it will mark a major milestone in Boeing’s demonstration flight for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program paving the way for the Crewed Flight Test (CFT) with the capsule carrying astronauts for the first time.

Photo by ULA
Photo by NASA TV