NASA’s Commercial Crew Program leveraged both SpaceX and Boeing to develop a safe and efficient crew-ready spacecraft for transporting astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Both companies dealt with the delay, SpaceX eventually fulfilled its promise, but Boeing struggled to even complete the test flight. Boeing’s expected second attempt at a test flight of an unmanned spacecraft to the ISS has now been pushed back again.
When NASA officially announced two companies, Boeing and SpaceX, that would be part of the commercial crew program, much in the industry believed that Boeing would be the first to offer what NASA was looking for. As the development of the Boeing Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon progressed, it soon became apparent that SpaceX was at the forefront, and the Crew Dragon would complete an unmanned test flight as well as the first crew flight. It didn’t take long. The spacecraft is now part of NASA’s fleet, but Boeing’s Starliner can’t be found anywhere.
Starliner has experienced a huge number of delays in the process of development, and the company has postponed major milestones for months and even years. The first unmanned spacecraft test flight ended without the spacecraft arriving at the space station, and the company blamed the clock for its failure. Boeing has announced yet another delay as NASA now expects the company to redo its unmanned spacecraft test mission.
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As SpaceNews reports, Boeing has revealed this week that its second test flight attempt, previously scheduled for March 25, needs to be postponed until at least April 2. This may seem like a small delay, but it’s the latest symptom of Boeing’s seemingly completely impossible to reach goals and keep schedules.
Just think about it. By 2017, NASA used taxpayer money to complete the Starliner and win a $ 4.2 billion contract certified by NASA. It will be changed. Even now, four years after that deadline, Boeing is unable to send an unmanned spacecraft to the ISS and is not a mission with astronauts on board.
Needless to say, this latest delay is just dung icing, and if Boeing’s recent achievements are any sign, it’s hard to even get excited to see the Starliner in action. In other words, it’s four years behind schedule, so what’s the next couple of years?
In any case, NASA has a SpaceX Crew Dragon that you can use when you need it. This is great news for space agencies. We have to wait if Boeing can actually launch the spacecraft in April or if things need to be pushed back further. It may not be a good idea to hold your breath on this.
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Mike Wehner reports on technology and video games over the last decade, covering the latest news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future technology. More recently, Mike has been a Tech Editor at The Daily Dot and has been featured on USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and printed matter. His love for reporting is second only to his game addiction.
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