United Launch Alliance launches its Atlas V rocket to boost the Boeing Starliner spacecraft for NASA from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, on May 19. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 25 (UPI) — NASA and Boeing Thursday updated the Starliner Crew Flight Test progress ahead of a mission planned for February 2023.
While planning is going well, a CFT mission to the International Space Station planned to be the first flight with astronauts on Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner, originally scheduled for this fall, has been pushed back to February.
NASA completed an uncrewed flight test to the ISS in May.
The CFT flight, now scheduled for February, will carry two test pilots — Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Suni Williams — on a flight to the ISS, where they will work for about two weeks.
NASA says a successful CFT will demonstrate the ability of Starliner and the United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket to safely carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
“Our onboard operations are really going well. We’re really happy with what’s going on with the crews,” said NASA International Space Station Program Manager Joel Montalbano. “The teams are doing well. We’re looking forward to seeing another Starliner docked back at the international space station.”
Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner, said, “We’re very happy with the observed performance of all our hardware, software and our team. Integrated systems performed extremely well.”
During the uncrewed orbital test in May, Nappi said there was an issue with thrusters being “deselected” by sensors. He said some minimal tweaks were done to correct that issue, and NASA believes some debris caused the sensor issue but it’s unknown what the debris was.
NASA said it will begin the final process of certifying the Starliner spacecraft and systems for regular crew rotation flights to the space station set to launch in February 2023.
Nappi said mission operations planning, simulation and training is underway and “we’re in good shape to execute that flight in February.”
Steve Stich, NASA Commercial Crew Program Director, said the first 6 months of next year will be a very busy time for NASA with a Soyuz handover in early March and then another ISS crew handover along with other missions.
“First 6 months are going to be runnin’, runnin’, runnin’,” Stich said.