A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying Boeing’s first Starliner crew capsule is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida this morning at 6:36 a.m.. You can watch it live this morning on Facebook courtesy of NASA.
The launch will make it Starliner’s first visit to the International Space Station (ISS) and although is an uncrewed flight, it is a crucial step toward crewed flights for Starliner, which Boeing has been developing to ferry NASA astronauts back and forth to the International Space Station.
Like Boeing, SpaceX also has a commercial crew deal with NASA, and is marching steadily toward crewed flights using its Crew Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket, which tested its capsule this past March, on a six-day uncrewed trip to the ISS known as Demo-1.
Boeing’s uncrewed test flight will be an eight-day test air the ISS. Today’s test launch will actually have one passenger, but not living one. A bandana-clad flight test dummy, named after 20th century feminist icon Rosie the Riveter, will be the only passenger aboard Boeing’s Starliner vehicle.
Rosie is an ATD outfitted with sensors that will monitor, measure and track critical data points, including the G-forces that Rosie experiences during the trip.
Expect some amazing images this morning from the Cape as the ULA test launch with the Starliner capsule will be just about 30 minutes before sunrise.