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article imageBoeing delays test flight of Starliner crew capsule to August

By Karen Graham     Mar 22, 2019 in Technology
Cape Canaveral - The bad news for Boeing has dripped out in a constant stream, day by day. Now, it is reported that Boeing has pushed back the first test flight of its CST-100 Starliner crew capsule until August.
The latest information came from unidentified sources familiar with the situation, according to Reuters.
The delay will mean the first flight of the CST-100 Starliner crew capsule with humans on board will end up being pushed to November, or even into next year.
According to one of the industry sources, the delay is not just due to technical issues but also involves scheduling issues at Starliner's launch site, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Spokespersons at Boeing and NASA declined to comment on the report. One NASA official said a new launch schedule will be released next week.
NASA has depended on Russian Soyuz rockets and spacecraft to ferry U.S. astronauts to and from the ISS since the space shuttle fleet was retired in 2011. The additional delays in Boeing crew capsule are also putting pressure on NASA because our contract with the Russian space agency runs out at the end of the year. A seat aboard the three-person Soyuz spacecraft currently costs about $80 million.
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine recently told CNBC, "I think there's going to be less time between the uncrewed vehicle for Boeing and crewed vehicle for Boeing and longer time between (flights for) SpaceX. Which means whoever gets to fly that first crew — we don't know right now. But I will tell you I'm highly confident it will be before the end of 2019."
And here is some additional news - NASA is expected to announce soon that when Boeing does finally fly a three-member crew to the ISS in its first test flight with humans on board, the astronauts will stay for up to almost seven months - in what NASA is calling a "long-duration" mission. It had previously been announced that crew members on test flights were to stay on the space station for about two weeks.
More about Boeing, starliner crew capsule, 1st test flight, Delayed, first crewed ISS flight
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