StarLiner OFT will re-fly in 2020
New developments from Boeing, as it was revealed that the next flight of Boeing Starliner capsule will be an uncrewed flight test, a repeat of OFT-1.
On December 22nd 2019, Boeing launched the inaugural flight of their Starliner capsule for the mission OFT-1. This flight was plagued by software issues which led to its early return and failure to dock with the International space station. It did successfully test most of its hardware and survived reentry in better condition than expected but after a long review period it was decided that the 2nd flight of this capsule will be uncrewed, pushing its first crewed flight to a later than expected launch. This flight will allow Boeing to once again prove everything can work flawlessly and autonomously. In a surprising statement , this launch will be paid for by Boeing, meaning no taxpayer money will be used, showing the confidence Boeing has they have fixed the issues.
The Starliner Capsule was Boeing’s response to NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and is in direct competition with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, to send crew back into space from US soil since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011. Starliner is Capable of launching up to five crew or four crew and cargo to the ISS and stay docked to the station, acting as a lifeboat, for up to 210 days (currently, only Soyuz capsule has ever been able to take this role). Like the Shuttle and unlike Crew Dragon, the capsule is to be fully reusable, but unlike Shuttle, it will do a soft touchdown at White Sands Missile Range under parachutes and airbags.
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