Boeing and NASA announces on Thursday that the company is further delaying the first crewed launch after discovering additional issues with the Starliner spacecraft.
The most recent date for the Starliner crew flight test, which was supposed to send two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, was July 21. Boeing discovered two brand-new Starliner issues: one that had an impact on the safety of its parachute systems and another that was related to a particular tape that was found to be flammable.
Mark Nappi, Boeing vice president and manager of the Starliner, stated in a press conference, “We’ve decided to stand down the preparation for the CFT mission in order to correct these problems.”
Nappi mentioned that the CEO of Boeing, Dave Calhoun, was involved in the discussion to postpone the launch.
The most recent setback for Starliner’s first crewed flight is the delay. The July timetable was itself a deferral from a past objective of April. NASA and Boeing stated on Thursday that a new flight target is in the works.
The company has been working on the Starliner spacecraft as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. It has won contracts to build the capsule worth nearly $5 billion. SpaceX, headed by Elon Musk, is in direct competition with Boeing’s program, which is expected to complete all six of its originally contracted NASA missions before Boeing flies its first.
In the race to launch NASA astronauts, Boeing was once thought to be on par with SpaceX, but development delays forced them to fall behind.
Over the course of more than two years, Boeing has lost $833 million on the Starliner program as a result of those delays and the fixed costs of its NASA contract.
Thursday, Nappi emphasized that Boeing is “still committed” to completing the capsule’s construction and flying for NASA.
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