Boeing Co has delayed by at least three months its first uncrewed flight to the International Space Station under NASA's human spaceflight program.
Its crewed flight will also be later, in November. Boeing's first test flight was slated for April. Astronaut flight of rival SpaceX is planned for July. NASA said however it was considering paying for two more seats on Russia rides to the space station for autumn of 2019 and spring of 2020 to ensure U.S. access. Boeing is developing Starliner to carry astronauts to and from the ISS, under a $4.2 billion contract the aerospace giant signed with NASA in 2014.
Boeing capsule - artist illustration
NASA needs a way to get astronauts to the International Space Station that doesn’t involve paying Russia. Last month NASA has warned Boeing and rival contractor SpaceX of design and safety concerns the companies need to address before flying humans to space. SpaceX is much closer to delivering NASA much-needed crew-capable spacecraft. Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, two veteran NASA astronauts, will be the crew of the next Crew Dragon mission, Demo-2, scheduled to take place as soon as July.