Update: It was incorrectly stated that Tory Bruno is the CEO of Boeing. Bruno is, in fact the CEO of United Launch Alliance. It was also stated, the Altas V had rolled out of a Boeing factory. Again, the factory is owned and operated by United Launch Alliance.
The uncrewed Orbital Flight Test of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is scheduled to be launched atop an Atlas V rocket in August. The spacecraft will spend a short time docked with the International Space Station before returning to Earth.
At a NASA Advisory Council’s human exploration and operations committee meeting, officials announced updated commercial crew dates. Although SpaceX is likely to suffer delays with the date of company’s Demo 2 mission being placed “under review”, Boeing has avoided further delays for the first time in a number of years. The current schedule has the company launching the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft in August and the Crew Flight Test before the end of 2019.
In addition to the Orbital Flight Test, Boeing will also need to complete a pad abort test of the Starliner spacecraft before a crewed mission. No update on the abort test was shared during yesterday’s presentation, however, a previous update published in April tentatively scheduled the test for this Summer.
As progress with the spacecraft continues, ULA CEO, Tory Bruno tweeted an image of the Atlas V that will be used to launch the first crewed Starliner as it rolled out of the ULA rocket factory. The crewed demonstration mission is currently scheduled for late 2019. If Boeing manages to continue to avoid delays, it will likely leapfrog SpaceX and become the first private company to launch astronauts to space.