The flight plan calls for the Starliner to remain docked over Christmas, returning to Earth on December 28 with a pre-dawn parachute and airbag-assisted landing at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.<\/p>

\"We are actually tracking no spacecraft anomalies right now,\" John Mulholland, Boeing\u0027s Starliner program manager, said after a launch readiness review Tuesday. \"The spacecraft is in really good shape.\"<\/p>

So is the Atlas 5.<\/p>

\"The United Launch Alliance team is just thrilled to be a part of this,\" said John Elbon, ULA\u0027s chief operating officer. \"We\u0027ve launched a lot of important payloads ... but there\u0027s just something special about launching humans, and to be a part of the program that\u0027s going tp do that is a really big deal for us.\"<\/p>

The last time an Atlas rocket launched an astronaut was in 1963 when Gordon Cooper climbed into orbit aboard his \"Faith 7\" Mercury capsule.<\/p>

As with the Starliner, \"we\u0027re tracking no significant issues with the launch vehicle,\" Elbon said. \"We\u0027re looking forward to Friday morning and hearing the words \u0027go Atlas, go Centaur, go Starliner!\"<\/p>

How to watch the Boeing Starliner launch<\/h3>