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NASA astronauts Nicole Mann, Josh Cassada, Eric Boe and Suni WIlliams and Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson

 

John Glenn became the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth after being launched on a heritage Atlas LV-3B rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 1962. We are proud to continue this heritage as we prepare to launch the Atlas V Starliner.

A ULA Atlas V rocket will send astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard The Boeing Company’s CST-100 Starliner capsule. The Starliner will launch on the Atlas V from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, on Florida’s Space Coast.

Three NASA astronauts, Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann and Barry “Butch” Wilmore, will launch aboard the Atlas V Starliner on the Crew Flight Test (CFT) mission. Astronauts Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada will launch on the first mission to the International Space Station.

Safety is a critical part of the ULA decision-making process, and we fully understand the responsibility and honor of launching American astronauts. ULA has performed a tremendous amount of work in conjunction with Boeing and NASA to ensure our designs provide the highest level of safety to the crew.

 

Configuration

The Atlas V Starliner builds on ULA’s solid history of success and incorporates new technologies designed for crew safety.

Dual Engine Centaur: For CST-100 Starliner missions, the Centaur upper stage will fly with two RL10A-4-2 engines, offering more thrust to accommodate the Starliner. It also helps shape the ascent trajectory to the Space Station.

Launch Vehicle Adapter (LVA) and Aeroskirt: The launch vehicle adapter (LVA) provides the structural attachment of the Starliner capsule to the Atlas V rocket. The LVA uses a truss structure and metallic ring to attach the spacecraft to the Centaur upper stage. ULA also designed a 70-inch-long aeroskirt to extend the Starliner aerodynamic surface, which enhances the aerodynamic characteristics, stability, and loads of the Atlas V for the unique crewed configuration.

Emergency Detection System (EDS): This system monitors various launch vehicle parameters to determine the health of the rocket, and provides a capability to take action by signaling an abort command so the Starliner can escape if necessary.

Orbital Flight Test: Atlas V Starliner

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying Boeing’s Starliner capsule on the Orbital Flight Test lifted off on Dec. 20 at 6:36:43 a.m. EST, from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This was the 81st launch of an Atlas V rocket and ULA’s 136th successful launch.

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