Crewed Starliner Flight: NASA and Boeing announce new launch date

NASA and Boeing had hoped to launch the crewed CST-100 Starliner spacecraft as early as next month, but the planned flight has been abruptly postponed. Now the next launch window is scheduled for July 21. This is reported by the official website of the project.

Boeing CST-100 Starliner. Image: Boeing

“While the Starliner spacecraft build is complete, additional time is needed to close out verification and validation work prior to the system’s first flight with crew on board,” Boeing said in a statement.

The crew of the upcoming CST-100 Starliner flight to the International Space Station (ISS) will be carried out by NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Barry Wilmore, who will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The purpose of the upcoming mission is to test the end-to-end capabilities of the system with a crew on board, including everything from rocket launch to landing.

“After a successful test flight, Boeing will work to complete operational readiness for its missions after certification. NASA will begin the final certification process of the Starliner spacecraft and systems for regular crewed missions to the space station,” the space agency said.

Problematic spacecraft

During development, the spacecraft suffered from many problems. The first flight in December 2019 ended in failure due to a number of technical failures. However, after working for a long time without a crew, the Starliner successfully docked to the ISS in May last year, which opened the way for the upcoming journey with the crew. If the mission is successful, NASA will have a second crew delivery vehicle to the ISS, along with the Crew Dragon capsule from SpaceX.

Starliner and Crew Dragon

The development is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, a public-private initiative aimed at increasing the accessibility of space by combining decades of NASA experience with new technologies developed and created by private firms.

Earlier we reported on how the castling of the crew took place on the Boeing Starliner.

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