Watch Boeing’s Historic Starliner Crewed Launch To ISS After Years Of Delays

hero boeing starliner headed to launch pad
After over a decade of delays, Boeing is finally ready for the first manned test flight of the Starliner spacecraft. The two-person crew will dock with the International Space Station as part of an agreement with NASA.

For all who have been patiently waiting Boeing’s first manned flight, the wait is nearly over. Later this morning, the Starliner spacecraft is scheduled to launch atop United Alliance’s Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. As of earlier this morning, NASA reports weather should not be an issue.

The two NASA astronauts onboard, Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, will spend approximately a week on ISS before returning to Earth. This final test flight will comprise validation of the transportation system, including launch pad, rocket, spacecraft, in-orbit operational capabilities, and return to Earth with astronauts aboard.

Williams gave the crew capsule the nickname “Calypso” back in 2019 to pay tribute to the explorer Jacques Cousteau. The icon of ocean travel sailed his own ship around the world, and Williams believes Starliner can do the same for space. The spacecraft itself has a diameter of 15-feet, and can carry up to four astronauts, or a mix of crew and cargo.

nasa boeing starliner astronuats
NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams.

This will be the third test flight of the Boeing Starliner spacecraft, following an Orbital Flight Test, and an uncrewed mission to ISS in May of 2022. The space and airliner company also completed a pad abort demonstration in November 2019.

According to NASA, the Starliner spacecraft can fly autonomously, or be steered manually. The crew and spacecraft are expected to dock with ISS on May 8. Once the flight test is completed, NASA will begin the final process of certifying Starliner and its systems for crewed rotation missions to the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Coverage of the launch can be viewed via the YouTube video feed above, or by visiting the NASA+ website. As of the time of this writing, coverage of the launch is scheduled to begin at 6:30pm EDT, and launched scheduled for 10:34pm EDT. Here’s to hoping Starliner’s escape hatch stays in tact until needed.