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Watching Boeing’s Starliner launch tonight

At 6:54 pm (Eastern) tonight a ULA Atlas-5 rocket will launch Boeing’s manned Starliner capsule on its second attempt to complete an unmanned demo mission to ISS.

NASA’s live coverage will begin at 6 pm on NASA-TV. I have embedded the youtube channel of this live stream below the fold. At the moment the station is broadcasting its regular NASA propaganda (some of which is actually informative). The launch’s actual coverage will begin at 6 pm (Eastern), and continue until the spacecraft is successfully inserted into orbit. Further coverage of the flight, including docking with ISS, will be as follows:

9 pm (Eastern) – Post launch press conference (time subject to change).

May 20
3:30 pm (Eastern) – Coverage begins of the rendezvous and docking to ISS, with the actual docking scheduled for 7:10 pm (Eastern).

May 21
11:30 am (Eastern) – Coverage of the opening of Starliner’s hatch, scheduled for 11:45 am (Eastern).

Boeing’s first attempt to complete this mission in December 2019 was forced to return to Earth before docking with ISS because of numerous software issues. Then, an attempt to launch again in August 2021 was scrubbed because numerous valves in the capsule’s service module failed to operate properly during the countdown. The company had to return the capsule to the factory to replace that service module as well as make some changes to the valves to make today’s launch possible.

For Boeing, these delays and fixes have cost the company a lot of money, since its contract with NASA is fixed price. This second demo mission will cost Boeing about $400 million, but even worse, the delays meant that SpaceX got some of the business with NASA and other private customers that it might have gotten had Starliner been operational.

Update: NASA has cut off coverage of the docking on the channel I had embedded previously. I have now embedded an active live feed.


Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

8 comments

  • sippin_bourbon

    Watching now.
    Fingers crossed. Hope they have a successful flight. I think the bar for success is pretty high at this point. If there are issues, I doubt it will be the Atlas 5 is the issue.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Also, maybe they changed this a while ago, and I never caught it.. I am used to “T minus (time)”. They are using “L minus (time)”

    Is this new?

  • Col Beausabre

    As of 19:27 Eastern Daylight Time, successfully inserted into orbit. Launch appeared to be nominal except for slight “over performance” by First Stage, which was corrected by Second. On to ISS!

  • sippin_bourbon: L minus is a term ULA uses, but I can’t remember what makes it different than T minus, which refers to actual liftoff.

  • Jay

    Sippin_bourbon,
    There are two times in use- the T-minus which is the time till liftoff which has built in holds and can stop, and L-minus is the real time of lift-off as is always running. Here is a short video talking about it. It is a good explanation that the T-minus is event driven and L-Minus is the actual time.

  • Col Beausabre

    It occurred to me as I watched this, “You’re watching the last hurrah of an obsolete technology” as nothing was recovered.

  • Ray Van Dune

    I don’t know if it was just a different broadcast protocol, but the media coverage seemed a little less sparkling than what I associate with SpaceX. The video seemed a lot less crisp and the on-air commentators were less engaging.

    Of course I have to admit I am completely smitten with the blonde lady engineer who has been with SpaceX coverage since the beginning. What a charming and intelligent woman!

  • sippin_bourbon

    Okay. I get it.
    T for time line based events.
    L for specific launch time.

    This implies they have two different clocks running concurrently.

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