Boeing will make history this week when it sends its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) for the first time, and you can keep up with the mission live online, thanks to NASA TV.
On Friday (Dec. 20), the uncrewed Starliner spacecraft will launch on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket and begin making its way to the ISS, where it will spend one week before returning to Earth with a soft landing at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
You can watch the entire Orbital Flight Test (OFT) mission — including the launch, docking and landing — live here on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV. Below is a schedule of all the events that will be livestreamed. If you miss any of the live events, we'll have the replays here on Space.com afterward.
Tuesday, Dec. 17
Boeing will hold a pre-launch news conference at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2 p.m. EST (1700 GMT), along with officials from NASA, ULA and the 45th Weather Squadron. Here's a list of attendees:
- Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program
- Joel Montalbano, deputy manager of the ISS program
- John Mulholland, vice president and program manager of Boeing's Commercial Crew Program
- John Elbon, chief operating officer of ULA
- Pat Forrester, astronaut office chief at NASA's Johnson Space Center
- Will Ulrich, launch weather officer with the 45th Weather Squadron
Thursday, Dec. 19
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will join future Boeing astronauts, Josh Cassada and Suni Williams, for live interviews on NASA TV's media channel, from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. EST (1100-1300 GMT). Williams and Cassada are two of the four astronauts scheduled to fly on Starliner's first operational flight to the International Space Station, which is currently scheduled for 2021.
Friday, Dec. 20
The Atlas V rocket carrying the uncrewed Starliner spacecraft is scheduled to lift off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 6:36 a.m. EST (1136 GMT). NASA will begin broadcasting live coverage of the launch at 5:30 a.m. EST (1030 GMT).
After the launch, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will give his remarks at a news conference that is currently planned to begin at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT). However, the NASA TV schedule notes that this start time is subject to change. Participants in this news conference will include:
- Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator
- Jim Chilton, senior vice president, Boeing Space and Launch
- Mike Fincke, NASA Astronaut
- Nicole Mann, NASA Astronaut
- Chris Ferguson, Boeing Astronaut
Another news conference will follow promptly at 9:30 a.m. EST (1430 GMT), with members of the OFT launch team, including:
- Steve Stich, deputy manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program
- Kirk Shireman, manager of the ISS Program
- A Boeing representative (to be determined)
- A United Launch Alliance representative (to be determined)
Saturday, Dec. 21
The Starliner will arrive at the ISS on Saturday (Dec. 21), and NASA will stream live views of the rendezvous and docking beginning at 5 a.m. EST (1000 GMT).
It will autonomously dock with the ISS — without the help of astronauts steering the Canadarm2 robotic arm, which is usually the case for incoming cargo vehicles. Docking is scheduled for 8:27 a.m. EST (1327 GMT).
NASA will continue to stream live coverage until the ISS astronauts open the hatch at about 10:45 a.m. EST (1545 GMT), when the crew on board the station will offer remarks on the historic arrival.
Friday, Dec. 27
After spending a week docked with the space station, Starliner will begin its journey home on Dec. 27. Astronauts will close the hatch at about 8:50 a.m. EST (1350 GMT), and live coverage of the hatch closing will begin on NASA TV at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT).
Live coverage of the undocking will begin at 11:45 p.m. EST (0445 GMT on Dec. 28), and Starliner will undock on Dec. 28 at 12:44 a.m. EST (1744 GMT).
Saturday, Dec. 28
After undocking from the space station at 12:44 a.m. EST (1744 GMT), the Starliner will begin its descent back to Earth, where it will conduct a parachute-assisted landing in the desert of New Mexico.
The journey back will take about five hours, but only the last hour or so will be streamed live. After the undocking, NASA TV will return at 4:30 a.m. EST (0930 GMT) for live coverage of the deorbit burn, which is scheduled to begin at 5:01 a.m. EST (1001 GMT). The landing is scheduled for 5:47 a.m. EST (1047 GMT).
Boeing and NASA may announce additional briefings to follow the landing, though none have been announced yet. We will update this schedule of events when we learn more.
Editor's note: This article was updated Dec. 19 with a new estimated time of docking.
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