Boeing has announced that its Crew Space Transportation (CST)-00 Starliner is placed atop the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket for its first flight.

The pre-launch processing was performed after the spacecraft was transported from Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center to a facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The spacecraft is being prepared for its uncrewed orbital flight test to the International Space Station (ISS) on 17 December.

It will lift-off from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The first Starliner flight to the ISS will be equipped with cargo for its few-day docked stay.

On its second flight test, Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson, along with Nasa astronauts Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann, will be onboard a different spacecraft.

Boeing Starliner vice-president John Mulholland said: “Our team successfully completed the transport and mating of two incredible vehicles.

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“Safety and mission success come down to ensuring the integrity of every step along the way. I could not be more proud of the Starliner team and the dedication put forward to get here today.”

Earlier this month, Boeing successfully conducted a pad abort test of its spacecraft, which cleared its environmental test campaign in April.

The aim of the mission is to transport humans to and from the ISS safely, reliably and cost-effectively.

The programme will also offer insights into rocket, spacecraft and ground systems’ performance, as well as in-orbit and landing operations.

The data gathered from this flight test will help Boeing’s crew transportation system’s certification, which in turn could support mission involving sending astronauts to the Moon and Mars.

Developed in Alabama, the Atlas V has already completed 80 successful launches since 2002.