Boeing recently said it was aiming for a 2021 “August or September” date for the second test flight of its Starliner spacecraft.
Ultimately, the capsule is supposed to transport astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
In a press release, the American aircraft manufacturer explained on April 17 that these dates correspond to a period where docking with the SSL will be possible.
However, the teams in charge of Starliner will be ready in May.
“Options could be considered if a possibility of launch presented itself earlier than expected,” says Boeing.
#Starliner will be mission-ready in May, and with @NASA we're targeting August / September to launch Orbital Flight Test-2.
The timeframe aligns with @Space_Station docking availabilities.
Read more: https://t.co/rk8G2LZi59 pic.twitter.com/8Wa31Qb8fi
- Boeing Space (@BoeingSpace) April 17, 2021
A failure in December 2019
The company expects to have completed software testing by the end of April.
“The safe and responsible transport of crew and cargo to and from low earth orbit […] is the end goal,” said Boeing.
A Starliner flight test had already taken place in December 2019, recalls
The aircraft without occupants was to rejoin the ISS, but the operation was unsuccessful.
The capsule had failed to rise enough into space.
No other trial has been organized since.
If successful, this summer's attempt will see the space shuttle remain docked to the ISS for a week.
The next step in the program conducted jointly by Boeing and NASA will be to perform a new test with passengers on board.
The aircraft manufacturer assured to have "confidence in [his] Starliner vehicle, the team and the mission which awaits them".
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