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Boeing pushes Starliner test flight to July
Boeing pushes Starliner test flight to July
by Patrick Hilsman
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 30, 2023

Boeing said it was now targeting July 21 as the earliest window for its first manned Starliner flight to the International Space Station, delaying the liftoff by several months.

Boeing and NASA said Wednesday that additional time was needed to "close out verification and validation work prior to the systems first flight with crew on board" the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft for the flight which was originally scheduled for the test mission originally scheduled for April.

"We are very proud of the work the team has done," Mark Nappi, vice president and Starliner program manager, said. "We understand the significance of this mission for both us and NASA. We will launch when we are ready and that includes at a time when the International Space Station Can accept our vehicle."

The Starliner has been described as a "next-generation" spacecraft which is designed to carry up to seven passengers, or alternately a mix of crew and cargo, to low-Earth orbit. The capsule has a "weldless structure," and can be reused up to ten times.

Test pilots Barry Wilmore and Suni Williams were scheduled to fly on the mission. The mission would have marked the first time a woman would be a crew member on the first flight of a spacecraft.

According to Boeing, Wilmore, Williams, and backup pilot Mike Fincke "finished the second part of the Crew Equipment Interface Testing milestone."

"They maneuvered around the spacecraft getting hands-on experience with the tools and equipment they will use during the test flight," Boeing said.

"Wilmore, Williams and Fincke will also conduct several simulations focused on the spacecraft's backup manual flight mode for added redundancy in the event of an emergency. Fueling the spacecraft and loading updated software flight parameters ensuring alignment with the ISS will be conducted closer to launch," the company said.

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