For the first time with people on board: Live broadcast of the Starliner launch

The launch of the Atlas V rocket with the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft will take place today from Cape Canaveral. For the first time there will be people on board. We tell you where and how you can watch the live broadcast of this event.

Atlas V rocket with Starliner spacecraft mounted on it on the launch pad. Source: ULA

What is Starliner?

CST-100 Starliner is a capsule spacecraft built by Boeing under contract with NASA. It is designed to deliver people and cargo to the ISS. The height of the Starliner is 5.03 m, the diameter is 4.56 m, the weight (when refueled) is 13 tons, and the volume of the internal space is 11 m2. In theory, the Starliner is capable of carrying up to seven people, but on missions to the ISS its crew will be limited to four astronauts. When returning to Earth, landing is carried out on land.

Preparing the Starliner spacecraft for launch. Source: NASA

We have already talked in some detail about the technical device and the history of Starliner. Let’s just note that so far it is considered a rather “unlucky” spacecraft. While the Crew Dragon spacecraft built by competitors from SpaceX has been delivering astronauts into orbit for four years, the Starliner should make its first manned flight.

Live broadcast of the Starliner launch

The Starliner will be launched from the Cape Canaveral cosmodrome using an Atlas V rocket. If there are no new postponements, the rocket with two astronauts will break away from the launch pad on June 5 at 10:52 p.m. ET. The event will be broadcast live on the NASA website, NASA TV and its YouTube channel. It will start four hours before the launch.

A lot depends on the results of the upcoming flight. Its success will allow Boeing to get rid of at least some of the criticism against itself and begin fulfilling the contract with NASA. It will also give a chance that the operation of the Starliner will not be limited only to missions to the ISS and in the future it will find work to deliver people to one of the projected commercial orbital stations. If any new serious problems arise during the flight, this may be the final verdict for the entire project.

It is also worth noting that the upcoming launch will be the first manned mission for Atlas V. The previous time rockets of this family sent people into space was back in the early 1960s as part of the Mercury program. 

If everything goes as planned, the Starliner will dock with the ISS on June 6. In total, the spacecraft will spend eight days as part of the orbital complex. After that, the Starliner will undock from the ISS and its capsule with the crew will land on Earth.