Boeing delays first Starliner astronaut mission to 2023
Launch officials said the mission could lift off as early as February, according to NASA commercial crew program manager Steve Stich.
Problems officials identified during Starliner’s uncrewed test flight included run-ins with a few of the spacecraft’s thrusters not firing as expected and software glitches. However, none of these issues had a major impact on the test mission, and the vehicle was still able to complete its multi-day journey to the ISS and return safely to Earth. Officials, however, deemed these issues serious enough to require corrective action before allowing the crew to board the vehicle.
Despite its setbacks, NASA has backed Boeing, which is one of two companies – the other being SpaceX – that the space agency tapped to build an astronaut-worthy spacecraft after the shuttle program was pulled out. space in 2011. While even the space agency initially expected that Boeing, a NASA partner for decades, would beat SpaceX to the launch pad, Boeing is now at least two years behind its upstart rival.
NASA astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita Williams have been slated to be the first astronauts to fly aboard Starliner next year.