During Tuesday’s NASA Advisory Council (NAC) meeting, Commercial Crew Program manager Kathy Lueders briefed the team of advisors on Boeing’s efforts to get its Starliner capsule ready for its first round of flights, noting how pleased NASA was with the company’s progress.
Presently, Boeing is targeting No Earlier Than August for the Orbital Flight Test (OFT) launch of Starliner in its uncrewed configuration – a mission that will see Starliner launch atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket and perform an automated docking to the International Space Station.
Final testing before OFT:
Ms. Lueders’ presentation confirmed several key and positive facts of Starliner’s progress toward its OFT mission, including completion of all Structural Test Article testing, ongoing work for parachute system qualification (that actually isn’t needed before OFT), and the critical completion of the Service Module’s hot fire test for low altitude aborts.
“Structural Test Article testing has been completed, and this is huge,” noted Ms. Lueders. “This has been an extensive two year test, and the work done by Boeing on making sure that they structurally characterized Starliner [involved] a huge number of integrated system tests and then working through different technical issues that came up and ...