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Crews prepare Starliner spacecraft for second attempt to meet International Space Station

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CAPITAL CANVER, Fla. Nearly two years after failing to reach the International Space Station, this could be the month that the Boeings Starliner crew capsule paves the way for more astronauts to leave Florida.

The second Boeings unmanned orbital test, or OFT-2, will be released on July 30. On Wednesday, NASA made preparations at the space station for the arrival of the capsules.

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The astronauts aboard the station moved the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavor spacecraft to another docking port to make room for the Starliners.

In December 2019 during the launch of OFT-1, the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket performed perfectly, but Boeing says the Starliner did not fly as planned. A computer time error caused the spacecraft to miss a critical maneuver that would have sent the vehicle on its way to capture the ISS.

Starliner returned to landing in New Mexico but was asked to make adjustments before flying back after software bug reviews.

Retired NASA astronaut and Boeing Program Manager Chris Ferguson will be working on the next behind-the-scenes mission.

Ferguson would previously fly the Starliner as part of its first crew, and 10 years ago, on July 21, 2011, Commander Ferguson landed at the Kennedy Space Center on the Atlantis spacecraft.

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The ship program came to a final halt after more than 30 years.

It’s a new era in spaceflight, with many trading partners launching rockets day in and day out, Ferguson said. Business is business much more, almost, than it was back in the days of the ship, which is wonderful.

Since the first test of the Starliners orbital flight, NASA as the other Commercial Crew SpaceX program partner has sent three astronaut crews to the station and is planning a quarter for the fall.

On July 28, the Atlas V rocket and Starliner capsule will roll into the launch pad two days before takeoff. Departure is currently scheduled for 2:53 p.m.

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