ULA Atlas V Rocket Carrying Starliner Spacecraft Travels to Launch Pad Ahead of Thursday Launch from Cape Canaveral

By  //  May 18, 2022

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launch is targeted for Thursday at 6:54 p.m. ET

ABOVE VIDEO: Starliner is preparing for liftoff! At 6:54 p.m. EDT (22:54 UTC) on Thursday, May 19, Boeing’s spacecraft launches aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on a demonstration flight that gets it one step closer to certification to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA –The Atlas V and Starliner are traveling one-third-of-a-mile from the Vertical Integration Facility for the Space Launch Complex-41 pad in advance of tomorrow’s countdown and launch.

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket will launch Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner spacecraft on its Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) to the International Space Station. OFT-2 is the second uncrewed flight of the Starliner that will demonstrate the spacecraft’s human transportation capabilities. This test flight is the last major step before the Atlas V and Boeing’s Starliner capsule take American astronauts to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Launch Weather Officer Will Ulrich from the U.S. Space Force’s Space Launch Delta 45 Weather Squadron predicts a 70 percent chance of acceptable conditions for Thursday’s 6:54 p.m. EDT (2254 UTC) launch opportunity of the Atlas V rocket and Starliner spacecraft.

“Central Florida is expected to continue to gradually ease into the summer convective season this week as our local weather becomes predicated on the placement of the Atlantic high pressure area, amount of available moisture, as well as the interaction of the Gulf and Atlantic sea breezes,” the weather team said in today’s initial forecast for launch.

“Isolated to scattered afternoon shower and thunderstorms are anticipated to develop each afternoon this week – with the greatest concentration predominantly west of Interstate 95 where the sea breezes are more likely to collide in the light south to southwest steering flow.”

The launch time forecast includes a few low-level clouds, broken high-level clouds, good visibility, southeasterly winds 15-20 knots and a temperature near 79 degrees F.

Mainly dry conditions are forecast with only a small chance of a shower or thunderstorm in the afternoon possibly developing near or just west of the launch complex, bringing a chance of a Cumulus Cloud Rule and/or Anvil Cloud Rule violation during the count.

For the backup launch opportunity on Friday evening, there is a 40 percent chance of acceptable conditions due to thunderstorms.

“Precipitation chances increase substantially on Friday as winds increase out of the south and draw a plume of deeper moisture upward from the Caribbean. As a result, the forecast is more pessimistic for the backup opportunity with higher probabilities of violations of the Cumulus Cloud Rule, Thick Cloud Layer Rule, and Anvil Cloud Rules,” forecasters said.