Boeing postpones first flights of Starliner spacecraft
In June, during a static test of the CST-100 Starliner emergency rescue engines, Boeing discovered a malfunction: after the engines were turned off, specialists noticed a fuel leak. The company said it would study the situation and make the necessary changes. Moreover, after the incident, Boeing was forced to postpone two test flights of the device to the International Space Station (ISS), which were supposed to take place this year - it is possible that both flights will take place only next year.
Boeing is developing Starliner under the NASA program called the Commercial Crew Program (the program involves the development of private American spacecraft to deliver astronauts to the ISS; SpaceX also participates in the program - it is developing a manned spacecraft Dragon V2). The Boeing spacecraft is expected to be able to carry seven passengers and will be launched into space using the Atlas V booster. NASA requires Boeing to conduct unmanned and manned spacecraft flights before the spacecraft can be considered suitable for scheduled flights to the ISS.
It was expected that Starliner will make its first flight - without a crew - in August, and a manned flight will take place in November. Now, Boeing plans to conduct an unmanned flight of the device either at the end of this year, or at the beginning of 2019, reports The Verge. The first manned flight is expected in the middle of next year.