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NASA, Boeing target March 25 for next Starliner flight test

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Washington, Jan 27 (IANS) Boeing is targeting March 25 for the launch of its commercial space capsule called Starliner’s second uncrewed flight test to prove the system is ready to fly crew missions for NASA to the International Space Station (ISS).

Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2, or OFT-2OFT-2, mission will launch Starliner on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

It will dock to the space station and return to land in the western US about a week later as part of an end-to-end test flight to prove the system is ready to fly crew, NASA said in a blog post this week.

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Boeing had signed a contract with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to fly operational missions to and from the space station with Starliner in 2014.

Its debut uncrewed orbital flight mission in 2019 did not go exactly as planned, requiring it to make another try before putting astronauts on board for the crewed flight test.

A NASA probe into Boeing’s commercial space capsule that failed to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) in December revealed numerous software bugs that should have been found in internal testing and not during an unmanned space flight.

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For the new mission, Boeing recently completed the formal requalification of Starliner’s OFT-2 flight software.

Teams conducted a full software review and several series of tests to verify Starliner’s software meets design specifications.

Boeing also will complete an end-to-end simulation of the OFT-2 test flight using flight hardware and final versions of Starliner’s flight software to model the vehicle’s expected behaviour before flight, NASA said.

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–IANS

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