Atlas V for Boeing’s Starliner Crew Flight Test is in Florida

Space Coast, FL – United Launch Alliance rolled out the Mighty Atlas V today from their transport cargo ship, Rocketship. But that’s not all, prior to the Atlas V roll out the upper stage dual engine centaur and a crated interstage.

Atlas V awaits instructions for roll out
Atlas V awaits instructions for roll out | Photo: Jon Van Horne

Crew Flight Test Hardware

The second stage of the rocket was also onboard. A dual engine centaur which is human spaceflight rated made an appearance for roll out too. The Centaur is the world's highest-performing upper stage. The pressure-stabilized tanks combined with the lightweight Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 engine provides industry best thrust-to-weight ratio. The stage has demonstrated long-coast relight capability that enables it to service any orbital need.

Dual Engine Centaur upper stage
Dual Engine Centaur upper stage | Photo: Jon Van Horne

An encased interstage was rolled out as well. The interstage is the section that joins the first stage and second stage together. It was however in a very large crate today, most likely to keep free from the elements for integration later.

Interstage encased in a large crate
Interstage encased in a large crate | Photo: Jon Van Horne

What was really nice to have was a guest appearance of 2 of the 3 NASA astronauts that will be flying on the Starliner CFT (Crew Flight Test) mission. Butch Willmore and Mike Fincke were in good spirits and excited for all the media out today. Nicole Mann will make up the trio and join them soon for more training.

Butch Willmore and Mike Fincke(left to right) with their ride to the ISS
Butch Willmore and Mike Fincke(left to right) with their boost to the ISS | Photo: Jon Van Horne

Boeing Space will be launching their Orbital Flight Test 2 of their Starliner spacecraft late July. And later this year (late 2021) the Crew Flight Test with NASA astronauts will make a rendezvous to the International Space Station. See our launch schedule page here. And you may find more details on OFT-2 here.

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