NASA to Provide Coverage of Boeing Orbital Flight Test for Commercial Crew

NASA to Provide Coverage of Boeing Orbital Flight Test for Commercial Crew

The launch of Boeing's Orbital Flight Test (OFT) to the International Space Station, as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, is targeted for 6:36 a.m. EST Friday, Dec. 20. The uncrewed flight test will be the Boeing CST-100 Starliner's maiden mission to the space station.

Live coverage will begin on NASA Television and the agency's website Tuesday, Dec. 17, with prelaunch events.

Starliner will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. About 31 minutes after launch, Starliner will reach its preliminary orbit. It is scheduled to dock to the space station at 8:08 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21. Starliner will carry about 600 pounds of crew supplies and equipment to the space station and return some critical research samples to Earth with a parachute-assisted landing at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico at 5:47 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 28.

The flight test will provide valuable data on the end-to-end performance of the Atlas V rocket, Starliner spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking and landing operations. The data 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. NASA's Commercial Crew Program is working with the American aerospace industry through a public-private partnership to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil for the first time since 2011.

NASA TV mission coverage is as follows (all times are Eastern):

Tuesday, Dec. 17

2 p.m. (no earlier than) – Prelaunch briefing from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Participants include:
Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
Joel Montalbano, deputy manager, International Space Station Program
John Mulholland, vice president and program manager, Boeing Commercial Crew Program
John Elbon, chief operating officer, United Launch Alliance
Pat Forrester, astronaut office chief, Johnson Space Center
Will Ulrich, launch weather officer, 45th Weather Squadron

Thursday, Dec. 19

9:30 a.m. – NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine near the Countdown Clock with:
Robert Cabana, director, Kennedy Space Center
Mike Fincke, NASA Astronaut, Starliner Crew Flight Test
Nicole Mann, NASA Astronaut, Starliner Crew Flight Test
Chris Ferguson, Boeing Astronaut, Starliner Crew Flight Test
Suni Williams, NASA Astronaut, Starliner first operational mission crew
Josh Cassada, NASA Astronaut, Starliner first operational mission crew

Friday, Dec. 20

5:30 a.m. – NASA TV launch coverage begins for the 6:36 a.m. launch.

9 a.m. – Administrator postlaunch news conference. Participants include:
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
Jim Chilton, Boeing senior vice president, Space and Launch Division
Astronauts Chris Ferguson, Mike Fincke, and Nicole Mann

9:30 a.m. – Launch team postlaunch news conference
Steve Stich, deputy manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
Boeing representative (to be determined)
ULA representative (to be determined)
Kirk Shireman, manager, International Space Station Program

Saturday, Dec. 21

5 a.m. – Coverage of rendezvous, docking and hatch opening

Friday, Dec. 27

8:15 a.m. – Coverage of hatch closing

11:45 p.m. – Coverage of undocking

Saturday, Dec. 28

4:30 a.m. – Coverage of deorbit and landing begins

The deadline for media to apply for accreditation for this launch has passed, but more information about media accreditation is available by contacting

The goal of NASA's Commercial Crew Program is safe, reliable and cost-effective human space transportation to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit, which could allow for additional research time and increase the opportunity for discovery aboard humanity's testbed for exploration. Commercial partnerships are an important part of NASA's Artemis program, which will send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024.

For more information on coverage, go to:

For launch countdown coverage, NASA's launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit:

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