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Boeing Completes Starliner Software Qualification; John Vollmer Quoted

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CST-100 Starliner
CST-100 Starliner

Boeing has completed its requalification of the CST-100 Starliner’s flight software, the company reported on Tuesday. With the qualification, Boeing will prepare for its next test flight.  Boeing’s starliner will fly to the International Space Station (ISS) during Orbital Flight Test-2, a second uncrewed flight test, in March 2021. 

“The work this team put into exhaustively wringing out our software is a defining moment for the program,” said John Vollmer, Starliner vice president and program manager. “We’re smarter as a team having been through this process, and most importantly, we’re smarter as a human spaceflight community.”

During Boeing’s requalification, teams conducted a full review of Starliner’s flight software and the process by which mission modifications or upgrades will be formally qualified in the future. The team evaluated Starliner’s software requirements and the testing associated with verification. 

Additionally, the team reviewed Starliner’s Avionics and Software Integration Lab (ASIL) to ensure it was sufficiently outfitted and configured to support all testing. Starliner was also reviewed for integration of software, which included all recommended flight hardware. Software engineers also validated all the simulators and emulators to ensure they were accurate models.

The team also conducted tests to confirm Starliner’s updated software met design specifications. They also directed static and dynamic tests inside the software integration lab. Hardware and software integrated test events are planned with the spacecraft’s launch vehicle provider, United Launch Alliance (ULA), as well as with NASA’s ISS program.

Following testing, Boeing will then conduct an end-to-end simulation of the OFT-2 test flight, using flight hardware and the final versions of Starliner’s flight software to model the spacecraft’s behavior, including pre-launch, docking, undocking and landing.

“Throughout all the turmoil 2020 handed us, this team remained energetic and inspired to be successful,” said Aaron Kraftcheck, Starliner’s software test and verification manager. “They want to do their very best for their country and their fellow citizens by helping to restore the pride NASA has in flying humans safely in space.”