Tuesday, July 5

Starliner and NASA reveal the astronauts of their mission | Digital Trends Spanish

NASA has named the two astronauts who will take part in the first manned test flight of Boeing’s new Starliner spacecraft.

The Crew Flight Test (CFT) mission will be piloted by Barry “Butch” Wilmore, a former space shuttle pilot and two-time visitor to the International Space Station (ISS). Joining him will be Suni Williams, an experienced astronaut with two space missions under her belt. In 2007, Williams also became the first person to run a marathon in space when she jogged on the station’s treadmill for more than four hours. NASA astronaut and three-time space visitor Mike Fincke will train as a backup pilot for the mission.

We're so excited for @Astro_Suni and astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore" to fly on #Starliner‘s first crewed flight test to @Space_Station. Every part of the spacecraft was developed with astronauts in mind and they have been vital to the team and their progress. pic.twitter.com/FoLtphWXRH

— Boeing Space (@BoeingSpace) June 16, 2022

Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft achieved its first successful test flight in May, following a failed mission in December 2019.

A date for the CFT mission will be determined once NASA and Boeing have completed their evaluation of flight data from the May unmanned test mission. The space agency said it expects to announce a timetable for CFT by the end of next month.

After launching aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Wilmore and Williams will take the same flight path that Starliner took on last month’s mission before docking with the ISS for a stay of two weeks.

“Based on current space station resources and scheduling needs, a short-duration mission with two astronaut test pilots is sufficient to meet all NASA and Boeing test objectives for CFT, including demonstrating the ability to of Starliner to safely fly operational manned missions to and from the space station,” said NASA in a statement shared Thursday.

He added that both the Starliner and Atlas V “performed well during all phases” of the May test flight. “We are methodically looking at each system to determine what needs to be updated or improved prior to CFT, just as we do with any other manned flight.”

A successful CFT mission will send the Starliner on its way to achieving full certification, allowing it to provide continuous manned flights to and from the space station in the same way that SpaceX deploys its Crew Dragon spacecraft today.

SpaceX conducted the first manned test flight of the Crew Dragon in the summer of 2020, a feat that brought manned launches and landings back to the United States after a nine-year hiatus following the end of the space shuttle program in 2011. Since then, Crew dragon has made five manned flights (Crew 1 -4 and Axiom-1) to the ISS, with the next scheduled for October 2022.

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