Atlas First Stage Delivered For Starliner Launch

ULA Atlas V booster for Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test (OFT) arrival at Cape Canaveral in Florida. Image Credit: NASA

December 13, 2018 – All launch vehicle hardware has been delivered to Cape Canaveral for the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket to launch Boeing’s first CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on its uncrewed Orbital Flight Test.

The Atlas V first stage rolled off of the Mariner cargo vessel on December 7 at the Cape Canaveral wharf for the short drive to the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center for receiving inspections and checkout.

Mariner is the ocean-going vessel that ULA uses to transport rocket stages from the manufacturing plant in Decatur, Alabama to the launch sites. The Atlas stage departed the factory November 28 for the journey of nearly 2,000 miles.

Early in 2019, the stage will move further north to the Vertical Integration Facility to be raised on the mobile launch platform. The twin solid rocket boosters will be mounted to the bottom of the first stage. Then, the top of the rocket stack, which consists of the interstage, Centaur upper stage and payload adapter, will be hoisted into position.

This delivery means all of the hardware that ULA needs to launch the first Starliner has been received at the launch site for final integration.