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Boeing to Refly Automated Starliner Flight Test

6 Apr 2020, 22:38 UTC
Boeing to Refly Automated Starliner Flight Test
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Starliner OFT-1 capsule after landing at White Sands Missile Range. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

by Douglas MessierManaging Editor

Boeing will refly an automated mission of its Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) later this year after the near catastrophic loss of one of the crew vehicle in December.

“We have chosen to refly our Orbital Flight Test to demonstrate the quality of the Starliner system,” the company said in a statement. “Flying another uncrewed flight will allow us to complete all flight test objectives and evaluate the performance of the second Starliner vehicle at no cost to the taxpayer.

“We will then proceed to the tremendous responsibility and privilege of flying astronauts to the International Space Station,” the company added.

The Washington Post reports the flight will likely take place in October or November. The schedule will in all likelihood push a crewed Starliner flight test to ISS into 2021.

The first Starliner flight nearly failed twice during its flight at the end of last year. Soon after launch on Dec. 20, a combination of software error and communications problem resulted in the vehicle not reaching its intended orbit and being unable to rendezvous and dock with ...

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