NASA, in collaboration with Boeing and SpaceX, has announced the target launch schedules for upcoming commercial crew missions to the International Space Station (ISS). The missions include NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT), SpaceX Crew-7, SpaceX Crew-8, and Boeing Starliner-1.
NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test
The first crewed flight of the Starliner system, NASA and Boeing’s CFT, is scheduled for no earlier than July 21, 2023.
The mission aims to prove the end-to-end capabilities of the Starliner system before certification and regular crewed missions to the ISS. NASA astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Suni Williams will be on board the Starliner spacecraft, which will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
The spacecraft is set to return approximately eight days later in White Sands, New Mexico.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7
The seventh rotational mission to the ISS by NASA and SpaceX is planned for no earlier than mid-August 2023.
NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli and Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency (ESA) will serve as the mission commander and pilot, respectively. The pair will fly aboard the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft named Endurance, which previously flew on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 and Crew-3 missions. The final two mission specialists will be assigned in the coming weeks.
The spacecraft is currently being prepared for flight at SpaceX’s refurbishing facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida, while the Falcon 9 rocket booster selection for Crew-7 is ongoing.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8
Scheduled for no earlier than February 2024, NASA and SpaceX’s eighth rotational mission to the ISS will see an integrated crew of four travel to the space station aboard a SpaceX Dragon and Falcon 9 rocket. Hardware allocations for the mission will be planned in the coming months, with crew training activities set to increase once crew members are assigned.
NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1
NASA and Boeing’s first crew rotation mission to the ISS, Starliner-1, is planned for no earlier than summer 2024.
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NASA astronauts Scott Tingle and Mike Fincke will serve as commander and pilot, respectively, aboard the Starliner spacecraft, which previously flew on Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 mission. Two mission specialists will be assigned in the coming months.
The launch is subject to change based on several factors, including a successful CFT, postflight data approvals, final certification products, and completion of operational readiness and certification reviews. Starliner-1 will fly a new service module currently in production at the Boeing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Atlas V rocket is complete and in storage at the United Launch Alliance facility in Decatur, Alabama, awaiting shipment to the launch site for stacking and final integration with the spacecraft.