In a press release yesterday, NASA announced the two-person crew that will fly on the first manned mission of Boeing’s Starliner capsule to ISS.
[C]ommander Barry “Butch” Wilmore, whom NASA assigned to the prime crew in October 2020, will join NASA astronaut Suni Williams, who will serve as pilot. Williams previously served as the backup test pilot for CFT [crew test flight] while assigned as commander of NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission, Starliner’s first post-certification mission. As CFT pilot, Williams takes the place of NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, originally assigned to the mission in 2018. NASA reassigned Mann to the agency’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission in 2021.
The crew for this flight, delayed now more than two years, has changed several times. In 2020 astronaut Chris Ferguson dropped out for personal reasons. Then NASA listed the crew as Wilmore, Mike Finke, and Nicole Mann, with Williams then assigned to Starliner’s next mission, its first long term flight to ISS.
With this change, the crew has been reduced to two, and Finke is now listed as a backup should something further change with the prime crew.
The press release made no mention of an actual launch date, though it did say that Boeing and NASA are still reviewing the data from Starliner’s unmanned demo mission:
The Starliner team is in the process of delivering the initial test flight data to NASA and jointly determining forward work ahead of a crewed flight. These engineering and program reviews are expected to continue for several weeks, culminating in a launch schedule assessment at the end of July, based upon spacecraft readiness, space station scheduling needs, and Eastern Range availability.
The goal had been to fly before the end of this year. It appears NASA and Boeing are still pushing to meet that goal.
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