Travel NASA Is Launching the Next Test Flight to Space — Here's How to Watch the Boeing Starliner
American Airlines just added wide-body planes to hundreds more domestic flights
You now have a few more months to enjoy a lie-flat seat on a domestic American Airlines flight. The Fort Worth-based carrier just extended its domestic wide-body schedule through late summer, per Cirium schedule data. With long-haul travel to most international destinations still limited, AA will continue to deploy its largest jets on a slew …The Fort Worth-based carrier just extended its domestic wide-body schedule through late summer, per Cirium schedule data. With long-haul travel to most international destinations still limited, AA will continue to deploy its largest jets on a slew of domestic routes instead.
July has already been a busy month in spaceflight, but it's not over yet. Following on the heels of the successful test flights byand that carried their billionaire founders, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, respectively, to space, NASA has cleared Boeing for launch next week.
On Friday, Boeing will launch its new Starliner spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station (ISS). Here's everything you need to know about the mission, including how to watch it live.
First space tourist Dennis Tito: 'It was the greatest moment of my life'
It's 20 years since the first private citizen traveled to space. In the two decades since Dennis Tito went into orbit, only a handful of space tourists have followed in his footsteps, but companies like SpaceX are hoping your next big vacation might be out of this world.For Tito, then 60, it was the culmination of a dream he'd held since he was a young man, one he'd shelled out a cool $20 million for to make a reality.
What is the Boeing Starliner?
Frequent fliers might be familiar with Boeing's Dreamliner aircraft, otherwise known as the 787, but Starliner is a vastly different vehicle. It's Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft, a seven-passenger capsule designed to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station — and maybe even beyond. The capsule, which resembles NASA's own Apollo vehicle and SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle, is being developed as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which allows private companies to develop new crewed spacecraft. Right now, SpaceX is the only company to have begun Commercial Crew operations to the ISS.
Video: Jeff Bezos and Crew Land Safely After 10-Minute Trip to Space (Travel + Leisure)
How bad is space tourism for the environment? And other space travel questions, answered.
Six questions to consider before launching yourself into space.For many, the rise of commercial space tourism is a vulgar display of wealth and power. Amid several global crises, including climate change and a pandemic, billionaires are spending their cash on launching themselves into space for fun. When Amazon founder Jeff Bezos told reporters after his first space tourism trip on Tuesday that Amazon customers and employees had “paid” for his flight, that only intensified that criticism.
How is the Starliner different from Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo and Blue Origin's New Shepard?
Both SpaceShipTwo and New Shepard are suborbital vehicles, meaning they are not designed to circle the Earth in space. Instead, they provide a relatively quick up-and-down flight, which is why they're geared towardsand microgravity research. Starliner, on the other hand, is an orbital-class spacecraft, and it's designed to circle the Earth to rendezvous with the ISS, then remain docked there in low-Earth orbit (LEO) for up to 210 days. NASA will use the vehicle to transport astronauts and cargo to the ISS.
What is the purpose of this test flight?
The OFT-2 mission is Starliner's second test flight to prove its launch, orbit, docking, and reentry capabilities, and it will be uncrewed, meaning no humans will be on board. Its first test flight in December 2019 (OFT-1, also uncrewed) was a failure; the vehicle did not reach its intended orbit due to technical issues, so it wasn't able to dock at the ISS. It did, however, land safely on Earth. This test flight will be a repeat of the first one — hopefully with a better end result. If all goes well, Boeing could start flying humans on test flights as soon as next year.
Biden Just Gave NASA the Green Light for a Cool New Moon Base
President Joe Biden’s plan to spend a couple trillion dollars on infrastructure here on Earth is still working its way through a fractious Congress. In the meantime the Biden administration is going all in on infrastructure in space. That is to say, space stations. In a rebuke of one of ex-president Donald Trump’s less popular space proposals, the Biden administration is working to extend the service life of the International Space Station. At the same time, the administration is clarifying plans for a new station that would orbit the moon.The twin initiatives couldn’t have come at a better time for proponents of a slowly emerging orbital economy.
Where can I watch the Starliner test flight?
The Starliner test flight is scheduled to launch at 2:53 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 30, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. It'll take approximately 31 minutes to reach orbit, after which it'll spend about 24 hours circling the Earth en route to the ISS. Docking is scheduled to occur at 3:06 p.m. EDT on Saturday, July 31.
NASA will stream the launch and docking via NASA TV, which you can watch, on the NASA app, or via NASA's social media channels. The broadcast will go live at 2 p.m. EDT on Friday and continue through orbital insertion; it will resume for docking at noon EDT on Saturday. NASA hasn't yet announced when Starliner will undock from the ISS and return to Earth, but it'll likely be about one week after arrival.
Stefanie Waldek is a freelance space, travel, and design journalist. Follow her onand at @stefaniewaldek.
Space tourism startup on track to send humans to orbit in 2024 .
Space Perspective completed its first unmanned test flight Friday of a gigantic balloon that will soon take humans to orbit when it launches the first commercial flight in 2024. Its Neptune Once spaceship test vehicle took off from the Space Coast Air and Spaceport in Cape Canaveral and hit its planned altitude of 108,409 feet where it hovered for six hours before splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico.With this flight, Space Perspective became the first space launch operator to fly from the Space Coast Spaceport, and put its on track for its first crewed test flight in 2023.