Washington, Nov 22 (IANS) Boeing has rolled out its passenger spacecraft to the launch site in Florida ahead of its uncrewed flight test scheduled for December 17.
NASA is working in partnership with Boeing and SpaceX to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil for the first time since 2011.
The Boeing spacecraft, the CST-100 Starliner, rolled out of the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, making the trek on a transport vehicle to Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, NASA said.
“This is critical to our future as a nation,” said Kennedy centre director Bob Cabana.
“We’ve got to get astronauts flying on US rockets from US soil, and this is just a huge step forward.”
At the pad, Starliner was hoisted up at the Vertical Integration Facility and secured atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket for the flight test to the space station.
“We’re not done yet. We’ve got to step into the mission carefully, fly this vehicle up to the space station, and bring it home safely,” said Kathy Lueders, NASA’s Commercial Crew Programme Manager.
The Atlas V rocket that will carry Starliner comprises a booster stage and dual-engine Centaur upper stage, as well as a pair of solid rocket boosters.