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Watching the first manned launch of Boeing’s Starliner capsule

UPDATE: Launch scrubbed due to an issue on the upper stage. When a new launch date is announced I will put up a new post.

The first manned launch of Boeing’s Starliner capsule is presently targeting a 10:34 pm (Eastern) launch tonight from Cape Canaveral, lifting off on ULA’s Atlas-5 rocket.

The flight will carry two NASA astronauts, Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, and will dock with ISS a little over 24 hours later for a week of testing docked to the station.

The live stream for tonight’s launch is embedded below. Though that coverage will include several prelaunch and post launch press conferences, the key coverage of the launch itself will begin at 6:30 pm (Eastern) on May 6th, about four hours before the launch itself. It will also include the capsule’s docking with ISS on May 8th. Most of the prelaunch coverage will be NASA PR, even though the only time NASA is participating significantly is when ISS is involved. Boeing is operating the capsule and ULA is operating the launch.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Richard M

    Speaking of, Eric Berger just put up a deep(ish) dive into what went wrong with Starliner development:

    “So what happened? How did Boeing, the gold standard in human spaceflight for decades, fall so far behind on crew? This story, based largely on interviews with unnamed current and former employees of Boeing and contractors who worked on Starliner, attempts to provide some answers.”

    It makes for grim reading.

  • Ray Van Dune

    The article did not really probe into the development of software, except to say that no end-to-end test was done. It would have been interesting to understand how the development was outsourced, for example.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Approx 9:00 pm Eastern time. Scrub. An oxygen relief valve on Centaur 2nd stage not performing (whatever that means exactly) at specification.

    Defuel and checkout.

    Seems like this could be multiple days to weeks delay depending on what they find.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Post scrub news conference by NASA, ULA and Boeing link below.

    Tory Bruno CEO of ULA is very impressive in his comfort handling technical concepts compared to most CEO’s. I am looking at YOU Boeing.

    He explains, a couple of hours after the scrub, what happened and what is needed to be done. Careful NOT to make predictions.

    It seems to me tho’ if they have to swap out relief valves on the Centaur upper stage, it is going to be at least a week or two. NASA ISS Director, made the point that ISS docking schedule has been simplified and cleared for most of the summer in anticipation of this test flight.

    Fast forward to listening to Bruno, he has the meat.

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