Washington: Boeing’s passenger spacecraft was successfully launched on its first uncrewed flight test to the International Space Station on Friday.
The reusable CST-100 Starliner was launched atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
“The Atlas Centaur will fall back to Earth and impact the ocean near Australia. After a series of orbital adjustments, Starliner will be on course for rendezvous and docking with the space station at 5 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21,” NASA said in a blog post.
Data from the flight test will be used as part of NASA’s process of certifying Boeing’s crew transportation system for carrying astronauts to and from the space station, the US space agency said on Wednesday.
The flight test will provide valuable data about the end-to-end performance of the Atlas V rocket, Starliner spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking and landing operations.
Boeing’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test (OFT) is the second uncrewed test flight of NASA’s Commercial Crew Programme, a partnership with the aerospace industry to launch astronauts on US rockets and spacecraft from US soil for the first time since 2011.
Earlier this year, the SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule completed its historic unmanned flight test to the space station.
NASA selected SpaceX and Boeing to create integrated spacecraft, rockets and associated systems to carry astronauts on NASA missions in September 2014.