Boeing delays first spaceflight of crew capsule
Boeing has delayed the first spaceflight of its CST-100 Starliner crew capsule for at least four months, according to reports.
The original target date for the uncrewed test mission to the International Space Station (ISS) was for April, however it has now been pushed back until August at the earliest, as reported by Reuters.
Reuters cited unnamed industry sources, who claimed that both technical and scheduling issues played a part in the delay.
Boeing and NASA declined to comment on the report, however NASA said it will be publishing an updated launch schedule at some time this week.
The Starliner spacecraft is designed to accommodate up to seven passengers for missions to low-Earth orbit, or up to four NASA crew members to the ISS.
The spacecraft is reusable up to 10 times with a six-month turnaround time, and features an innovative, weldless design that "eliminates the structural risks of traditional welds, and it also reduces mass and production time".
Boeing signed a $4.2 billion contract with NASA in 2014 for the development of Starliner to reintroduce orbital human spaceflight capabilities to the US, after NASA retired its space shuttle fleet in 2011.
NASA has since depended on Russian rockets and spacecraft to taxi US astronauts to the ISS, which currently costs the US $80 million per person.
In addition to the uncrewed and crewed flight test, NASA has ordered six Boeing crew rotation missions to the ISS aboard the Starliner, which will be Boeing's first commercial human spaceflight missions.
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