NASA and Boeing postpone the flight with Starliner astronauts without date

Boeing ‘s Starliner capsule continues to experience problems, prompting the team to once again postpone its first crewed flight to the International Space Station.

NASA and Boeing have decided to postpone again the first flight with astronauts in the company’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft , which was scheduled for July 21.

This agency Boeing crewed flight test to the International Space Station has been undated withdrawn by program officials “to take time to address recent emerging issues,” NASA reports .

This is the latest of several setbacks to Boeing ‘s Starliner program .

At a news conference, NASA and Boeing said they had recently discovered two new problems with the Starliner , including flammable tape and issues with the vehicle’s parachutes. They said they’ll spend the next five to seven days figuring out how to move forward with the schedule, but didn’t give a new estimated release date.

“We can say we’re disappointed because it means a delay, but the team is proud that we’re making the right decisions,” said Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager for Starliner at Boeing .

On May 25, a NASA safety advisory panel raised concerns about outstanding issues that needed to be resolved with Starliner ahead of its planned launch date, including ongoing issues with the vehicle’s parachutes and software.

During a panel meeting, the security advisers acknowledged that some of the issues date back a long time, while others emerged recently during analysis and testing. The panel urged NASA to create an independent team to “take a deep look” at the problems.

“Given the number of challenges remaining to Starliner certification , we strongly encourage NASA to step back and look at the remaining work,” Patricia Sanders, chair of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel , said during the meeting. The space agency later communicated a list of the remaining items that needed to be handled before Starliner ‘s first manned spaceflight .

A series of delays

Boeing and NASA had already delayed this launch test on other occasions. The duo had postponed the flight to July since the end of April. Before that, they had set out to launch Starliner in February. Ongoing delays have cost Boeing as much as $883 million since 2020, the company said.

Boeing designed and developed the Starliner for the NASA Commercial Crew Program . As part of the program, two companies – Boeing and Elon Musk’s SpaceX – were contracted to build vehicles that could transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft successfully delivered its first astronauts to the ISS in 2020.

Starliner has also suffered numerous technical problems, both in flight and during testing. Boeing was forced to conduct two uncrewed flight tests after software problems prevented Starliner from reaching the space station on its first attempt. The company successfully sent the capsule to the ISS in May 2022. However, that flight also suffered minor technical failures during the mission.