MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Boeing delays Starliner’s crewed launch until March 2024, at the earliest

Aug 8, 2023, 4:01 PM | Updated: 5:23 pm

starliner delay boeing...

FILE - A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is rolled out of the Vertical Integration Facility, May 18, 2022 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Boeing’s first Starliner flight with astronauts aboard has been delayed until at least next March. (Joel Kowsky/NASA via AP, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Joel Kowsky/NASA via AP, File)

Another delay has been announced for the Boeing Starliner was supposed to launch into space this summer.

Boeing and NASA were set to launch their CST-100 Starliner spacecraft in April, but due to problems with parachute cords and glass cloth tape, that launch was postponed to July.

In a Monday news conference, Boeing vice president and Starliner manager Mark Nappi said that the craft would be done in March of next year, but when a launch could happen was not disclosed.

Based on the current plans, we’re anticipating that we’re going to be ready with the spacecraft in early March,” Nappi said. “That does not mean we have a launch date in early March. That means that we are ready with the spacecraft in early March.”

The original guidelines for usage of the tape were confusing, according to company and NASA officials, but they later determined it could not be used in some areas because it was flammable.

The parachute issue will take longer to resolve. Part of the parachute lines known as soft links did not meet safety standards, having gotten past improper testing years ago. A new, more robust design will be incorporated into upgraded parachutes already in the works.

Boeing’s Starliner capsule is one of two spacecraft NASA selected to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The other is SpaceX’s Dragon.

From the aviation industry: FAA warns of safety hazard from overheating engine housing on Boeing Max jets during anti-icing

NASA hired Boeing and SpaceX nearly a decade ago to deliver astronauts to and from the space station. SpaceX is now three years into its taxi service. Boeing has only had a pair of Starliner space test flights with no one aboard.

As of October last year, Boeing had incurred nearly $900 million in losses due to delays in Starliner’s development.

NASA said it still wants two competing crew launchers, even as the projected 2030 end of the space station program draws ever closer. The goal is to fly one Boeing and one SpaceX crew flight each year.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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