NASA astronauts to fly to International Space Station on Boeing Starliner check mission

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After the profitable completion of OFT-2, which noticed an uncrewed Boeing Starliner spacecraft delivering provides to the International Space Station (ISS), NASA will probably be sending two of its astronauts aboard the Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT) mission to the ISS the place they’ll reside and work for about two weeks.

NASA astronaut Sunita “Suni” L. Williams will function a pilot and will probably be joined by CFT commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore. Williams was beforehand the backup check pilot for CFT whereas assigned as commander of NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission, Starliner’s post-certification mission. Williams takes the place of NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, who was initially assigned the mission in 2018. NASA had reassigned Mann to the company’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission in 2021.

A brief-duration mission with two astronaut pilots is ample to satisfy all NASA and Boeing check targets for CFT, based mostly upon present house station assets and scheduling wants. The targets embrace demonstrating Starliner’s means to securely fly operational crewed missions to and from the house station. NASA could lengthen the CFT docked interval length as much as six months and add a further astronaut later if wanted.

Formerly assigned because the joint Operations Commander for CFT, NASA astronaut Mike Fincke will now prepare because the backup spacecraft check pilot and can stay eligible for task to a future mission. According to the house company, Fincke’s distinctive experience will profit the crew as he retains his place as a flight check lead.

“Mike Fincke has dedicated the last nine years of his career to these first Boeing missions and Suni the last seven. Butch has done a marvellous job leading the team as the spacecraft commander since 2020. It was great to see Starliner’s successful journey to the International Space Station during the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission last month. We are all looking forward to cheering on Butch and Suni as they fly the first crewed Starliner mission,” stated Reid Wiseman, chief, Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, in a press assertion.

All three astronauts have every flown beforehand as long-duration crew members aboard the house station. Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida for the crewed flight check.


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