The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is perched atop Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex-41 for Thursday’s launch of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner on the second Orbital Flight Test (OFT-2) in support of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
“The second orbital flight test will provide us with an opportunity to further analyze the unique technologies developed for our Atlas V launch vehicle in support of NASA’s human spaceflight program,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs.
“We have worked very closely with Boeing and our industry partners to ensure the Atlas V rocket is ready to launch Starliner to the International Space Station. The integrated team remains focused on crew safety and this mission brings us one step closer to flying astronauts.”
The Atlas V was transported from the Vertical Integration Facility to begin final launch preparations. The loading of RP-1, a highly refined kerosene, into the Atlas V first stage will occur later today.
The Mobile Launch Platform traveled to the pad with the help of undercarriage railcars and trackmobile machines that push the entire 1.6-million-pound MLP and Atlas V rocket along tracks up the hill to the pad. The trip began with first motion at 10:14 a.m. and concluded once the MLP was secured to the pad pedestals at 11:12 a.m. EDT.
The 11-hour launch countdown will begin early Thursday, leading to a liftoff of the Atlas V rocket at 6:54:47 p.m. EDT (2254:47 UTC).
The weather forecast calls for a 70 percent of acceptable weather.