NASA and Boeing delay the first manned flight of Starliner to April

The manned flight of the Starliner capsule to the International Space Station has now been dated for April 2023 to avoid conflicts with other space launches. 

NASA and Boeing are now targeting April 2023 for the first manned flight of the CST-100 Starliner , the spacecraft designed to transport astronauts to the International Space Station.

The new launch date marks a two-month delay from the most recent plan, Bloomberg reports . In a blog post, NASA said moving the launch to April “deconflicted” (resolved coordination issues) with spacecraft that are scheduled to visit the space station next year.

“We understand that our customer must consider the needs of the International Space Station when scheduling the certification flight of a second US commercial crew transportation system,” Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager for Starliner , said in a statement. . “We are working to have the CFT vehicle ready to fly before the new launch date.”

Starliner is still in the works

Boeing noted in its update that it is still refurbishing the Starliner crew capsule , which it previously flew in December 2019, and that production of the service module hardware that supports the capsule is still ongoing.

Boeing is one of two companies, along with SpaceX, selected by NASA as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Both are tasked with developing a private spacecraft capable of carrying NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

For this flight, Starliner will launch on an approximately eight-day mission to the ISS, carrying two NASA astronauts . It will be the first time Starliner will carry people to and from space.

In May, Boeing successfully launched the Starliner on an uncrewed test flight to the space station. The mission was considered a success, despite experiencing multiple problems during the flight. Boeing is still working to address and correct the anomalies it experienced during that flight.

Boeing ‘s Starliner program has suffered a variety of setbacks over the years, resulting in additional expenses for the company. The company recently took a $195 million charge for Starliner last quarter, bringing the total cost of the program to $883 million from 2020. (Europa Press)