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Capitalism in space: ULA announced this week that its Atlas 5 rocket has passed a NASA review that now approves the design changes necessary to allow that rocket to launch Boeing’s Starliner manned capsule.
“Design Certification Review is a significant milestone that completes the design phase of the program, paving the way to operations,” said Barb Egan, ULA Commercial Crew program manager. “Hardware and software final qualification tests are underway, as well as a major integrated test series, including structural loads. Future tests will involve launch vehicle hardware, such as jettison tests, acoustic tests, and, finally, a pad abort test in White Sands, New Mexico.”
Launch vehicle production is currently on track for an uncrewed August 2018 Orbital Flight Test (OFT).
The schedule to make that August flight happen still remains tight, but this approval brings it one step closer.