A new unmanned test mission of Boeing's space capsule, Starliner, which will eventually serve as a taxi to transport astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), has been set for late July after being repeatedly postponed.
Take-off is now scheduled for July 30 at 2:53 p.m. local time.
If all goes as planned, the capsule should dock with the ISS the next day.
"The new launch window results from the timing of vehicles visiting the Space Station, Starliner readiness, and the availability of the United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket," which launches the capsule, Nasa said in a statement.
A manned test scheduled for September?
"Boeing will also continue to work on the software for its first flight with astronauts (…) until the middle of the summer", specified the American Space Agency.
A manned Starliner test is scheduled thereafter, normally in September.
"Boeing is committed to the safe and viable transport of crews and supplies to and from low Earth orbit destinations," Boeing said in a statement.
In December 2019, during a first test flight, the capsule failed to dock with the ISS, and returned to Earth prematurely - a setback for this giant of the aerospace industry.
Boeing left behind by SpaceX
NASA then drew up a long list of recommendations to Boeing.
They primarily concerned the on-board software, which was the source of the main problem during this first test flight.
Boeing was thus largely left behind by SpaceX, the other company chosen by NASA so that the United States could launch astronauts towards the ISS from their soil, which they could no longer do since 2011. But SpaceX has now transported no less than ten astronauts to the Space Station, including Frenchman Thomas Pesquet, aboard his own Crew Dragon spacecraft.
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