Updated January 26th, 2024 at 20:33 IST
NASA and Boeing target April for Starliner's First-Ever Crewed Mission to ISS
NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sunita Williams have been chosen for Boeing's first crewed mission to the International Space Station.
NASA and Boeing are targeting mid-April for launch of the latter's crewed Starliner mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Two NASA astronauts will launch to the orbiting laboratory to certify Boeing's capabilities of transporting a crew to the low-Earth orbit. Butch Wilmore and Sunita Williams have been chosen for the mission wherein they will stay for one to two weeks aboard the ISS.
"The mission will mirror the tasks of regular crew rotation flights for Boeing’s Starliner under contracts with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program," NASA said in an official statement. Apart from Boeing, SpaceX is another company with contracts under the Commercial Crew Program. Currently, NASA completely relies on SpaceX for launch of astronauts to the ISS since the company got certification in May 2020.
NASA and Boeing teams are preparing for Starliner's Crew Flight Test to launch no earlier than mid-April, carrying two NASA astronauts to @Space_Station.
Teams have made significant progress in resolving technical issues identified during the agency’s flight certification… pic.twitter.com/e7AQvBdqz7
— NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) January 24, 2024
In an update on January 24, NASA said that the mission teams have made significant progress in resolving the issues with the Starliner spacecraft which emerged during the uncrewed flight in May 2022.
Both the agencies are working on verifying Starliner's parachute system to meet the crew safety requirements which will take six to eight weeks, NASA said. To further ensure safety of astronauts, Boeing has removed more than 7 kg of tape from Starliner which may have posed a flammability risk in certain conditions.
Just recently, the mission teams completed a dress rehearsal where they practiced a two-day undock to landing procedures and further preparations will last the next two months.
Moving forward, the teams will put finishing touches on Starliner and run simulations to mimick crew, flight and ground operations before fuelling the spacecraft and mating it with the United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket.
Published January 26th, 2024 at 20:33 IST