NASA announces astronauts for Boeing Starliner flight test

Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test mission will take off from Florida coast

Starliner docks at International Space Station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA announced the astronauts who will be the first to launch aboard Boeing’s Starliner capsule.

Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Suni Williams will be the astronaut test pilots for the Crew Flight Test mission that will take off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. NASA astronaut Mike Fincke will be training as a backup test pilot.

An exact date for this launch has not yet been set.

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An uncrewed launch of the capsule happened at the end of May from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Boeing’s Starliner launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket for its second-ever orbital test flight.

It successfully docked at the International Space Station and stayed there for a few days. While the capsule was docked at the ISS, astronauts aboard the space station reviewed the capsule’s systems and rendezvous procedures.

“Starliner and the Atlas V performed well during all phases of OFT-2, and now we are taking a methodical look at each system to determine what needs to be upgraded or improved ahead of CFT, just as we do with every other crewed flight,” Steve Stich, manager, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, said in a release. “Additionally, Butch, Suni, and Mike have been instrumental in the development of Starliner on the path to having a second space station crew transportation system.”

The space agency has long wanted two competing U.S. companies ferrying astronauts, for added insurance as it drastically reduced its reliance on Russia for rides to and from the space station.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.