Boeing’s “Starliner”: Astronaut flight postponed

Boeing's

Contrary to what was planned, the spaceship “Starliner” will not take off for the first astronaut flight this year. The space capsule should be ready for launch at the beginning of next year at the earliest. This was announced by the US space agency NASA and the US aircraft manufacturer Boeing at a press conference.

Boeing’s program manager, Nappi, said, “Based on current plans, we expect to be ready with the spacecraft by early March.”

However, that does not mean that there is already a start date for early March. This must be determined at a later date and depends on the places on the ISS and the possibilities of the United Launch Alliance group, which supplies the rocket for the start of the spaceship.

Again glitches in the final test phase

Ironically, in the final test phase in the spring, new technical problems arose: with the parachute system and with an adhesive tape that turned out to be flammable. That should actually protect the capsule wiring.

The first manned flight of the spacecraft should have taken place in July. This date had also been postponed several times before.

So far, only unmanned test flights have been successful

Nearly a decade ago, NASA hired Boeing to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station and back to Earth. This was successful for the first time in 2022 – but only unmanned. At that time, NASA spoke of a “milestone”.

Spacecraft costs Boeing hundreds of millions of dollars

NASA wants to use Boeing’s space capsule as an alternative to SpaceX’s Dragon space capsule for transports to the ISS. The ongoing delays in the first Starliner flight have already cost Boeing an additional $257 million, the US aircraft manufacturer announced last month.

The “Starliner” is a semi-reusable spacecraft consisting of a crew capsule and a rocket-launched service module. Once approved for human transport, it can carry up to four crew members to the ISS.

With information from Nina Barth, ARD Washington

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