The Crew Flight Test (CFT) of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner is now targeted to launch in April 2023, a window Boeing and NASA agree is the optimal timeframe for the International Space Station visiting vehicle schedule.
“We understand our customer must consider the needs of the International Space Station in scheduling the certification flight of a second U.S. commercial crew transportation system,” said Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager for the Starliner program. “We are working to have the CFT vehicle ready to fly ahead of the new launch date.”
The refurbishment of a previously flown crew module and production of a new service module for CFT are continuing at Boeing’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility in Florida. Once both modules are complete, they’ll be mated and tested for flight.
The Starliner team recently completed a successful Crew Validation Test (CVT) with NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore, Suni Williams and Mike Fincke. CVT is a critical milestone conducted near completion of the crew module and is a measure of confidence for the astronauts as they progress toward launch.
Boeing and NASA are working together to achieve flight readiness. In-flight anomalies from Starliner’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) are on a path to close in the coming weeks, following thorough data reviews, fault tree analyses, and agreed-to mitigation plans.
“Starliner’s two uncrewed orbital flight tests provided invaluable information about our spacecraft,” Nappi said. “Additional learnings are expected as Starliner transitions from a fully autonomous flight without crew to flights with crew. With the help of experienced NASA test pilots, Wilmore and Williams, we are closer to our goal of flying a safe and capable spacecraft.”