A United Launch Alliance (ULA) ATLAS V rocket carrying Boeing’s STARLINER capsule on the Orbital Flight Test lifted off on 20 December from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. This marks the 81st launch of an ATLAS V rocket and ULA’s 136th successful launch.
“We had a successful launch and initial indications are that we demonstrated the launch vehicle test objectives, performance enhancements, and the mission-unique modifications developed for the safety of human spaceflight,” said Tory Bruno, ULA President and CEO. “We achieved spacecraft separation as planned. We will continue to support our Boeing and NASA partners as they work to bring STARLINER home.”
The mission came to a premature end two days later, however, when a timer accidentally reset itself after launch vehicle separation, causing the mission computer to lose its place in the mission timeline. The unmanned orbital capsule made a safe controlled landing in New Mexico on 22 December.
ULA's next launch is the SOLAR ORBITER mission for the European Space Agency and NASA onboard an ATLAS V 411, scheduled for 5 February. With more than a century of combined heritage, ULA is the world’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. The company has successfully delivered more than 135 satellites to orbit, providing Earth observation capabilities, enabling global communications, unlocking the mysteries of our solar system and supporting life-saving technologies.