Boeing's first crewed space launch delayed, again
WASHINGTON, June 2, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Boeing has once again delayed the first
crewed flight of its Starliner space capsule after discovering new technical
issues, officials said Thursday.
The troubled CST-100 Starliner program has experienced numerous postponements
but was finally meant to send humans on a test flight to the International
Space Station on July 21.
During testing, Boeing engineers identified new issues relating to a faulty
parachute system and wire harness tape used extensively through the capsule
that was found to be flammable under some conditions.
After internal deliberations, they decided to abandon the test flight and
report the new issues to the US space agency, which has contracted Boeing to
provide a taxi service to the ISS.
"We've decided to stand down the preparation for the CFT (Crewed Flight
Mission) mission in order to correct these problems," Mark Nappi, vice
president and program manager of Boeing told reporters on a press call. No
new date has been proposed.
Boeing had hoped to make its first manned flight of the CST-100 Starliner in
The company finally succeeded in May 2022 in reaching the ISS for the first
time -- without a crew on board.
NASA awarded fixed-price contracts of $4.2 billion to Boeing and $2.6 billion
to SpaceX in 2014, shortly after the end of the Space Shuttle program, during
a time when the United States was left reliant on Russian Soyuz rockets for
rides to the ISS.
NASA is looking to certify Starliner as a second "taxi" service for its
astronauts to the space station -- a role that Elon Musk's SpaceX has
provided since succeeding in a test mission of its Dragon capsule in 2020.