United Launch Alliance Completes Key Milestone for Launch of Boeing’s Starliner and Return of U.S.-based Human Spaceflight
(Source: United Launch Alliance; issued Jan. 4, 2018)
CAPE CANAVERAL AFS, Fla. --- United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully completed an Atlas V Launch Segment Design Certification Review (DCR) recently in preparation for the launch of astronauts to the International Space Station from U.S. soil in The Boeing Company’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. ULA’s Atlas V DCR supported the Boeing International Space Station (ISS) DCR that was held with NASA at Kennedy Space Center in early December.

“Design Certification Review is a significant milestone that completes the design phase of the program, paving the way to operations,” said Barb Egan, ULA Commercial Crew program manager. “Hardware and software final qualification tests are underway, as well as a major integrated test series, including structural loads. Future tests will involve launch vehicle hardware, such as jettison tests, acoustic tests, and, finally, a pad abort test in White Sands, New Mexico.”

Launch vehicle production is currently on track for an uncrewed August 2018 Orbital Flight Test (OFT). The OFT booster for the uncrewed flight is in final assembly at the factory in Decatur, Ala., and the OFT Centaur upper stage has completed pressure testing. Other hardware such as the launch vehicle adapter and aeroskirt production are on schedule to support test articles and flight.

“ULA is progressing into the operational phase to launch the OFT and Crew Flight Test in 2018, and we are pleased with the progress we’re making toward a successful launch of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner on the Atlas V,” said Gary Wentz, ULA Human and Commercial Systems vice president. “We cannot overstate the importance of all the steps that go into this process as there is more than just a mission or hardware at stake, but the lives of our brave astronauts.”

The Boeing Company selected ULA’s Atlas V rocket for human-rated spaceflight to the ISS. ULA’s Atlas V has launched more than 70 times with a 100 percent mission success rate.

With more than a century of combined heritage, ULA is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 120 satellites to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field and enable personal device-based GPS navigation.


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