First manned flight of Starliner is postponed to the beginning of May

The first manned flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft was postponed from the end of April to the beginning of May. This is stated in a message published on the NASA website.

The capsule of the Starliner spacecraft. Source: Boeing/John Grant

According to representatives of the organization, the shift was not caused by technical problems with the spacecraft, but with the ISS work schedule. In mid-March, the Dragon supply spacecraft (CRS-30 mission) will be launched to the station. After its departure, the Crew-8 expedition spacecraft will perform a docking. It will move from the front to the upper docking port of the Harmony module so that the freed node can use the Starliner. These ports are the only ones on the station that can receive Starliner and Dragon spacecraft.

As for the Starliner, representatives of NASA and Boeing claimed that they managed to solve the technical problems that led to the fact that the first flight of the crewed spacecraft was postponed from 2023 to 2024. In January, engineers conducted successful tests of the parachutes, confirming the safety of the changes made to their design, and also removed the tape used for winding wires, which was recognized as flammable. In addition, problems with valves in the temperature control system have been solved. This gives reason to hope that this postponement will be the last for the mission.

An Atlas V rocket will be used to launch the Starliner. A crew of astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams will be on board the spacecraft. The mission plan assumes that they will dock with the ISS, spend up to two weeks on board the station, after which they will return to Earth.

The successful flight of the Starliner will allow NASA to finally certify it for the rotation of the ISS crew. At the moment, the first such mission is scheduled for early 2025. 

Earlier we wrote that the first private spacewalk was postponed due to the unavailability of spacesuits.

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