Boeing and NASA officials said Thursday the first launch of astronauts on Boeing’s delay-prone Starliner crew capsule won’t happen in July after engineers recently discovered a problem with the spacecraft’s parachute system and identified flammable tape around wiring harnesses inside the vehicle.
Fresh from its inaugural test flight in space, Boeing’s first reusable Starliner crew capsule has been named “Calypso” by NASA astronaut Suni Williams, who will command the same vehicle on its next trip into orbit.
NASA announced Friday a mix of spaceflight veterans and rookie astronauts who will launch on the first flights of new Boeing and SpaceX commercial spaceships starting as soon as next spring, several months later than previously scheduled.
NASA is announcing the astronauts who will fly the first crewed test flights of the SpaceX Dragon 2 and Boeing Starliner capsules next year. The event at the Johnson Space Center is due to get underway at 11am EDT (1500 GMT).
Several NASA astronauts, plus Boeing test pilot Chris Ferguson, recently participated in a training session at Cape Canaveral, practicing how they would evacuate from the Atlas 5 rocket’s launch pad in the event of a countdown emergency.
Boeing has unveiled a new lightweight spacesuit, fitted with zippers, breathable stitching and plenty of Velcro, to protect NASA astronauts on trips to the International Space Station aboard the company’s CST-100 Starliner capsule.
Four veteran astronauts have been selected to train for launch aboard new commercial crew capsules being built by Boeing and SpaceX that are intended to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station starting in 2017, NASA announced Thursday.