CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – The launch of a Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is targeted for liftoff at 6:36 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, December 20, 2019, from Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Starliner and the Atlas V were rolled out to the launch pad on Wednesday in preparation for Friday’s launch.
The test flight of the uncrewed Starliner to the International Space Station will provide valuable data on the end-to-end performance of the Atlas V rocket, Starliner spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking, and landing operations.
The Blue Team is preparing the White Room at the end of the #Starliner access arm for crew module ingress. The team is comprised of 3 ULA and 5 @Boeing representatives, and will work together to ensure future astronaut crews are safely inside #Starliner and ready for launch. pic.twitter.com/UnzXgebbcH
— ULA (@ulalaunch) December 18, 2019
The data will be used as part of NASA’s process of certifying Boeing’s crew transportation system for carrying astronauts to and from the space station.
Cape Canaveral Weather 90% ‘GO’
According to the latest forecast from the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron, there is an 80% chance of favorable weather for the launch at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The primary weather concerns for launch are cumulus clouds and ground winds.
Boeing Starliner vs. SpaceX Crew Dragon
U.S. taxpayers will pay an average cost per seat of $90 million for Boeing’s Starliner and approximately $55 million for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, NASA’s Office of Inspector General found.
NASA currently relies on Russia to transport astronauts in a Soyuz spacecraft at an average cost of $79.7 million per seat.