NASA reveals crew for Starliner’s first astronaut flight

NASA has named the 2 astronauts set to take part within the first crewed take a look at flight of Boeing’s new Starliner spacecraft.

The Crew Flight Check (CFT) mission will probably be piloted by Barry “Butch” Wilmore, a former Area Shuttle pilot and two-time customer to the Worldwide Area Station (ISS). Alongside him will probably be Suni Williams, an skilled astronaut with two house missions beneath her belt. In 2007, Williams additionally grew to become the primary particular person to run a marathon in house when she jogged on the station’s treadmill for greater than 4 hours. NASA astronaut and three-time house customer Mike Fincke will prepare as a backup pilot for the mission.

Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft achieved its first profitable take a look at flight in Could following a failed mission in December 2019.

A date for the CFT mission will probably be decided as soon as NASA and Boeing has accomplished its evaluation of the flight knowledge from Could’s uncrewed take a look at mission. The house company mentioned it’s hoping to announce a schedule for CFT towards the tip of subsequent month.

After launching aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from the Kennedy Area Middle in Florida, Wilmore and Williams will take the identical flight path that Starliner took in final month’s mission earlier than docking with the ISS for a two-week keep.

“Primarily based upon present house station sources and scheduling wants, a brief length mission with two astronaut take a look at pilots is ample to satisfy all NASA and Boeing take a look at goals for CFT, which embody demonstrating Starliner’s means to securely fly operational crewed missions to and from the house station,” NASA mentioned in a launch shared on Thursday.

It added that each the Starliner and the Atlas V “carried out properly throughout all phases” of Could’s take a look at flight. “We’re taking a methodical take a look at every system to find out what must be upgraded or improved forward of CFT, simply as we do with each different crewed flight.”

A profitable CFT mission will ship the Starliner on its option to attaining full certification, enabling it to supply ongoing crewed flights to and from the house station in the identical means that SpaceX deploys its Crew Dragon spacecraft as we speak.

SpaceX performed the primary crewed take a look at flight of the Crew Dragon in the summertime of 2020, a feat that returned crewed launches and landings to the U.S. after a nine-year pause following the tip of the Area Shuttle program in 2011. The Crew Dragon has since made 5 crewed flights (Crew 1-4 and Axiom-1) to the ISS, with the subsequent one scheduled for October 2022.

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