NASA, Boeing teams provide update on ‘high-stakes’ Starliner flight test

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Teams from NASA and Boeing gathered at the Kennedy Space Center Wednesday for a flight readiness review ahead of a second un-crewed flight test for their CST-100 Starliner spacecraft.

The vessel first launched in 2019, but software issues prevented it from ever reaching the International Space station.

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“It does seem like the rocket and the spacecraft are ready,” Dr. Ken Kremer of Space Upclose said. “But the stakes are extremely high after one failure and then a launch delay last year.”

Now, teams are targeting Thursday, May 19 at 6:54 p.m. for the launch of the Boeing Starliner’s second orbital flight test under NASA’s new Commercial Crew program.

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The focus Wednesday was on the CST-100 Starliner system, mission operations, support functions, and the readiness of the space station to support the un-crewed flight.

“What NASA wants are two competing systems which are dissimilar to get our astronauts to the International Space Station,” Kremer said. “If one of them goes down, we still have another one.”

SpaceX, NASA’s other commercial crew partner, recently launched its fourth operational mission to the ISS. Boeing could fly its first crewed flight test before the end of the year, but only after the successful completion of an un-crewed flight.

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“Everything has to go extremely well,” Kremer said.

Teams are expected to provide another status update on the launch after the flight readiness review is complete.

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