Starliner Reaches Orbit Despite Thruster Problems, ISS Docking Set for Friday

Atlas V lifts off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station with Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. (Credit: ULA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner uncrewed spacecraft reached orbit after launch from Florida on Thursday on its way to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) despite problems with two of its 12 thrusters, officials said. The flight test is a crucial step to certifying Starliner to carry crew to the station.

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United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches the Boeing CST-100 Starliner on Orbital Flight Test-2

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 6:54 p.m. EDT on May 19, 2022. (Image Credit: United Launch Alliance)

Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla., (United Launch Alliance PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V carrying Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, lifted off on May 19 at 6:54 p.m. EDT, from Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. To date ULA has launched 150 times with 100 percent mission success. This marks the 93rd successful launch of an Atlas V rocket, and the 104th launch from SLC-41. 

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United Launch Alliance Set to Launch the CST-100 Starliner Spacecraft on Orbital Flight Test-2

An Atlas V rocket carrying the AEHF-6 mission for the U.S Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 4:18 p.m. EDT on March 26, 2020. (Credit: United Launch Alliance)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. (United Launch Alliance PR) — A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket is in final preparations to launch Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The launch is planned for Thurs. May 19 at 6:54 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The live launch broadcast begins no earlier than 6 p.m. EDT on May 19 at www.ulalaunch.com.

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Atlas V to Launch Starliner OFT-2 Mission on Thursday

The Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is lifted at the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on May 4, 2022, ahead of its second Orbital Flight Test (OFT-2) to the International Space Station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. (Credits: NASA/Frank Michaux)

United Launch Alliance Mission Information

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket will launch Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner spacecraft on its Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) to the International Space Station. OFT-2 is the second uncrewed flight of the Starliner that will demonstrate the spacecraft’s human transportation capabilities. This test flight is the last major step before the Atlas V and Boeing’s Starliner capsule take American astronauts to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Launch Date and Time: Thursday, May 19, 2022 at 6:54 p.m. EDT (2254 UTC)
Webcast: Begins May 19 at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 UTC)

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Coverage Set for NASA’s Boeing OFT-2 Briefings, Events, Broadcast

The Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is lifted at the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on May 4, 2022, ahead of its second Orbital Flight Test (OFT-2) to the International Space Station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. (Credits: NASA/Frank Michaux)

NASA Mission Update

NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch, launch, and docking activities for the agency’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) to the International Space Station. Scheduled to launch at 6:54 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 19, OFT-2 is the second uncrewed flight for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

The Starliner spacecraft will launch on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. About 31 minutes after launch, the Starliner will reach its preliminary orbit. It is scheduled to dock to the space station at 7:10 p.m. on Friday, May 20. Prelaunch activities, launch, and docking will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Secures Largest RL10 Engine Contract From United Launch Alliance

Aerojet Rocketdyne recently completed successful hot-fire testing of a full-scale, additively manufactured thrust chamber assembly for the RL10 rocket engine at its West Palm Beach, Florida facility. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) – United Launch Alliance (ULA) recently awarded the largest RL10 contract ever to Aerojet Rocketdyne to deliver 116 RL10C-X engines for its Vulcan Centaur rocket. The new engines will support ULA as it works to fulfill its commitments under a contract they recently received from Amazon, as part of the largest commercial launch contract in history, to support the launch of its Kuiper satellite constellation.

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Starliner Orbital Flight Test-2 Scheduled for May 19

Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft returned Aug. 19, 2021, from the United Launch Alliance Vertical Integration Facility to the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where teams will work to diagnose and resolve a valve issue detected during the Aug. 3 launch attempt of NASA Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2. (Credit: Boeing)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Media accreditation is open for prelaunch and launch activities for NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission to the International Space Station, the second uncrewed flight test of the company’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

Liftoff on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Starliner is targeted for Thursday, May 19, from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

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Rogozin Courts Chinese Cooperation on ExoMars, Space Station

Vladimir Putin receives a briefing from Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: Office of the Russian President)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Chinese government-owned CGTN website has an interview with Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin. With relations severely damaged with the West due to sanctions imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Roscosmos is increasingly focused on deepening cooperation with China’s surging space program. The partnership already includes jointly developing a crewed base on the moon in the 2030s.

On the suspended ExoMars mission with Europe, Rogozin said:

“In the construction of ExoMars, the main element is the landing module. The Mars research rover is not the essential element. I think we can make this mission happen with another partner like China or someone else.”

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NOAA’s GOES-T Reaches Geostationary Orbit, Now Designated GOES-18

Illustration of the GOES-T spacecraft with Earth’s reflection. (Credits: Lockheed Martin)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — On March 14, 2022, GOES-T executed its final engine burn, placing the satellite in geostationary orbit 22,236 miles above Earth. Upon reaching this milestone, GOES-T was renamed GOES-18. GOES satellites are designated with a letter prior to launch and a number once they achieve geostationary orbit.

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The Dmitry Daily: Rogozin Again Threatens Existence of International Space Station if U.S. Remains Hostile to Russian Invasion of Ukraine

This report from the Kremlin-backed RT news channel has extensive comments from Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin, including a threat to end the International Space Station project. He said he didn’t expect it would happen because he beliefs the U.S. will cool down over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Rogozin has also been busy on Twitter. He tweeted a short video showing workers taping over national flags painted on a Soyuz 2-1.b rocket with 36 OneWeb satellites aboard that was erected on a launch pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome. The launch had been scheduled for Friday. On Thursday, London-based OneWeb announced it was suspending all launches of its spacecraft from Baikonur.

Translation via Twitter: The launchers at Baikonur decided that without the flags of some countries, our rocket would look more beautiful.

Other Recent Tweets
(Translated from Russian)

Rogozin Tweet

Roskosmos will not service the remaining 24 RD-180 engines in the US, and the RD-181 will stop deliveries.

Editor’s note: The RD-180 rocket engines power United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket. Rogozin was referring to Russian personnel who support the launches. Two RD-181 engines power the first stage of Northrop Grumman’s Antares booster that launches Cygnus resupply ships to the space station.

Rogozin Tweet

In the context of the announced sanctions, Roscosmos will reconsider its priorities and focus on achieving full import independence in matters of space instrumentation. The main design, technological and financial resources released from joint ventures with the US and the EU international research projects, will now be directed to the creation of space systems exclusively for defense and dual purposes.

Roscosmos Tweet

The State Corporation will not cooperate with Germany on joint experiments on the Russian segment of the ISS. Roskosmos will conduct them independently.

Russian space program will be adjusted against the backdrop of sanctions, the priority will be the creation of satellites in the interests of defense.

Rogozin Sticks a Knife into Northrop Grumman’s Antares Rocket

Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket liftoff from pad 0A at 12:40 p.m. EST from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, on Feb. 19, 2022. The Cygnus spacecraft, carrying 8,300 pounds of science investigations and cargo, is scheduled to arrive at the space station on Monday, Feb. 21. (Credits: NASA Wallops/Allison Stancil)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin said Russia will no longer sell rocket engines to U.S. companies, dealing a potentially fatal blow to Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket. The decision was made in retaliation for U.S. sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week.

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OneWeb Suspends Satellite Launches From Baikonur

Soyuz rocket launches 36 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Friday launch of 36 OneWeb broadband satellites aboard a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome is officially canceled as the London-based company refused demands from the Russian government amid growing international tensions over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“The Board of OneWeb has voted to suspend all launches from Baikonur,” the company said in a one-sentence statement.

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NOAA’s GOES-T Weather Satellite Blasts into Orbit

A ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the GOES-T mission for NOAA and NASA lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 4:38 p.m. EST on March 1. (Credit: ULA)

New satellite will support weather forecasts for the U.S. West Coast, Hawaii and Alaska

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — NOAA’s GOES-T, the third in a series of four advanced geostationary weather satellites, blasted into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket at 4:38 p.m. ET today from Cape Canaveral, Florida. GOES-T’s mission managers confirmed that its solar arrays successfully deployed at 8:28 p.m. EST, and the satellite was operating on its own power.

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Russia Holds OneWeb Satellites Hostage; No Launch Unless Company & British Government Meet Demands

Vladimir Putin receives a briefing from Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: Office of the Russian President)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In what is likely the first hostage drama involving communication satellites, the head of the Russian space program has demanded that the British government divest its shares in OneWeb and that the broadband satellite operator not provide services to foreign militaries in order to launch a new batch of spacecraft. The move comes amid growing tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed on the country by western nations.

Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin tweeted that unless these demands are met, Russia will refuse to launch 36 OneWeb satellites that sit atop a Soyuz-2.1b rocket currently on the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launch is scheduled for Saturday morning Moscow time.

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United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches Advanced Weather Satellite GOES-T

A ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the GOES-T mission for NOAA and NASA lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 4:38 p.m. EST on March 1. (Credit: ULA)

ULA and heritage vehicles have launched every GOES spacecraft

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla., March 1, 2022 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the GOES-T spacecraft for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA lifted off on March 1 at 4:38 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. To date ULA has launched 149 times with 100 percent mission success.

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