Skip to main content

NASA and Boeing reveal new date for first crewed Starliner flight

NASA and Boeing had been hoping to perform the first crewed flight of the Starliner spacecraft next month, but on Wednesday they announced the mission will now take place no earlier than Friday, July 21.

“While the Starliner spacecraft build is complete, additional time is needed to close out verification and validation work prior to the system’s first flight with crew on board,” Boeing said in a statement posted on its website.

The upcoming CST-100 Starliner flight to the International Space Station (ISS) will be crewed by NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Barry Wilmore, with the pair launching on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The goal of the upcoming mission is to test the end-to-end capabilities of the Starliner system with crew onboard, including everything from rocket launch to landing and recovery.

“Following a successful test flight, Boeing will work to finalize operational readiness for its post-certification missions and NASA will begin the final process of certifying the Starliner spacecraft and systems for regular, crewed missions to the space station,” the space agency said on Wednesday.

The early stages of the Starliner’s development were beset with issues, with its first flight in December 2019 ending in failure due to a slew of technical problems. After much work, however, an uncrewed Starliner successfully docked with the ISS in May last year, paving the way for the upcoming crewed voyage. If everything goes according to plan, NASA will then have a second crew transport vehicle — along with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule — for astronaut trips to and from the ISS.

“We are very proud of the work the team has done,” said Starliner program manager Mark Nappi. “We understand the significance of this mission for both us and NASA. We will launch when we are ready and that includes at a time when the International Space Station can accept our vehicle.”

The Starliner’s development is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, a public-private initiative designed to increase the accessibility of space by bringing together NASA’s decades of experience with new technology developed and built by private firms.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
First crewed Starliner test needs good weather for launch. Here’s the forecast
Boeing Space's Starliner spacecraft.

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft Boeing / Boeing

NASA and Boeing Space are a short time away from conducting the first crewed launch of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Read more
Watch SpaceX’s Crew Dragon take one of its shortest journeys on Thursday
A SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft docked at the ISS.

NASA Live: Official Stream of NASA TV

Four International Space Station (ISS) crew members will climb aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on Thursday and take it on a very short journey.

Read more
NASA gives Starliner’s first crewed launch the go-ahead
NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test Astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams prepare for their mission in the company’s Starliner spacecraft simulator at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

NASA has completed its readiness review of the Boeing Starliner, a new spacecraft designed to carry astronauts from Earth to the International Space Station (ISS) and back. With the first crewed test flight of the Starliner less than two weeks away, NASA has given the go-ahead for the launch. If successful, the Starliner will join the SpaceX Crew Dragon as the first American spacecraft to carry astronauts since the Space Shuttle.

Astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida today, Thursday April 25, in time to prepare for the first launch of the Starliner in around a week-and-a-half. Arriving in a T-38 jet, Wilmore and Williams said they were excited to be in Florida and for the launch date to arrive.

Read more