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Starliner launch map reveals viewing opportunities

At 1:20 p.m. ET on Tuesday, August 3, Boeing will launch its Starliner spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The test flight is the second for Boeing’s spacecraft after a failed mission in December 2019 when the vehicle was unable to make it to the International Space Station (ISS). A subsequent investigation blamed multiple software issues with Starliner’s onboard systems.

Assuming Tuesday’s uncrewed mission goes to plan, Starliner will dock with the ISS on Wednesday, August 4, before returning to Earth five days later for a parachute-assisted landing in the New Mexico desert.

Digital Trends has all the information you need to watch a livestream of the highly anticipated launch. But if you live along the Eastern Seaboard anywhere between Florida and Maryland, there’s a chance you’ll be able to see the rocket blasting to space simply by sticking your head out of the window. Weather permitting, of course.

ULA has helpfully provided a visibility map for the launch (below), together with precise timings revealing when you’ll be able to see the rocket heading to space. The map also shows the flight path and the various stages of the launch, including the booster separation and main engine start.

Atlas V OFT-2 launch visibility map.

After the failure of the test flight in 2019, a lot is riding on Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission on Tuesday. NASA wants to use the spacecraft for crew and cargo launches to the ISS, but of course, the vehicle has to be 100% safe for it to become a regular part of U.S. launches. And that’s what Tuesday’s OFT-2 mission is all about.

Last year, the space agency started using SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft for carrying astronauts to and from the ISS, returning crewed launches and landings to the U.S. for the first time since 2011 when the last space shuttle touched down at the landing facility on Merritt Island in Florida.

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Trevor Mogg
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Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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