An unpiloted test flight of Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule to the International Space Station will be delayed from its previous target launch date of April 2 until at least May, after the arrivals of Russian Soyuz and SpaceX Crew Dragon ships bringing fresh crew members to the orbiting complex, NASA officials said Monday.
One of the two Falcon 9 rockets SpaceX planned to take off in a span of less than five hours earlier this week will remain grounded indefinitely, preventing Cape Canaveral from hosting two launches on the same day for the first time in decades. But the military-run Eastern Range was ready for the back-to-back missions, and probably won’t have to wait long for the next chance for a launch doubleheader.
The U.S. Space Force has decided to delay the planned late February launch of two military satellites aboard a ULA Atlas 5 rocket to “evaluate readiness” of one of the payloads, giving officials a window to move forward the liftoff of an unpiloted test flight of Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule to no earlier than March 25.
Boeing said Monday it has re-qualified software for the company’s Starliner crew capsule after programming errors cut short the spacecraft’s first orbital test flight in 2019, and technicians at the Kennedy Space Center have connected the crew and service modules for the next unpiloted Starliner test flight to the International Space Station in March.