Nasa and Boeing's plan to launch the Starliner Cargo Spacecraft to ISS on August 3 might be affected due to adverse weather conditions. Weather report indicated afternoon showers and thunderstorms on the day of the launch. The aerospace agency is said to be keeping a close watch on weather developments.
According to weather forecast, there will be afternoon showers and thunderstorms along the eastern coast of Florida. The expected time of rain coincides with time of the launch. The Starliner Cargo Spacecraft is scheduled to launch at 1.20 PM EDT on August 3. However, weather department also said there was a 40 percent chance that conditions might improve.
Next Available Date for Starliner Launch
In case weather conditions do not improve and the launch is postponed, experts state that the next date available for the launch is August 4. All measures suggested by the joint Nasa-Boeing Independent Review Team have been taken and unless the weather condition is really bad, the launch will take off as planned on August 3.
It will be a second Orbital Flight Test (OFT0), where the Starliner will launch from the Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Nasa had stated that this launch will result in providing valuable data towards certifying Boeing's crew transportation system for regular flights to and from the space station.
It can be noted that the Starliner was scheduled for a second uncrewed test flight on July 30. But it was postponed to August 3 after 'spacecraft emergency' was declared. The orbiting outpost was thrown out of control as jet thrusters on the newly docked Russian Nauka module fired inadvertently. Nasa and Roscosmos released statements that the seven crew members aboard including two Russian cosmonauts, three US astronauts and two others from Japan and France were not in danger. Though there were no mishaps on the ISS, the mission's flight director declared an emergency as a preventive measure and postponed the launch of Starliner.
Starliner to Dock at Space Station on August 4
But if the August 3 launch is successful, Starliner will carry Nasa cargo and crew supplies to the ISS. It will demonstrate the end-to-end capabilities of the capsule and Atlas V rocket, from launch to docking, to a return to Earth with a desert landing.
Starliner is expected to perform its orbital insertion 30 minutes after launch and will dock at the space station on August 4. The capsule will be there in the station for one week. While returning to Earth, it will carry reusable Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System (NORS) tanks that will provide breathable air to station crew members. Through this project, Boeing hopes to provide input on the possibilities of its first crewed flight.
Originally, Starliner was launched on Dec. 20, 2019. But due to an issue with the spacecraft's Mission Elapsed Time (MET) clock just 31 minutes into flight, the spacecraft burnt into an incorrect orbit. The eight-day mission was reduced to two days after the spacecraft landed at White Sands Space Harbor on Dec. 22, 2019.