NASA Alters Astronaut Crew on 1st Boeing Starliner Test Flight Due to Medical Issue

The original crew of the Boeing Starliner crew test flight
comprised Eric Boe (left), Nicole Mann and Chris Ferguson as NASA announced in
August 2018. For medical reasons Boe has been replaced by Mike Fincke.  Credit: NASA

Ken Kremer — SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM — 3
February 2019



CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – NASA has altered the
crew lineup for the 1st Boeing Starliner test flight as a result of
unspecified medical issues with one of the previously assigned astronauts,
swapping out one veteran astronaut with another.



Veteran NASA astronaut Eric Boe has been pulled from the maiden test
flight of Boeing’s Starliner commercial crew mission that will restore America’s
capability to launch humans to the International Space Station (ISS) from American
soil for the first time since the shuttles were prematurely retired in 2011.



Another veteran NASA Astronaut Mike Fincke has been assigned in place
of Boe.



“Boe is unable to fly due to medical reasons,” NASA announced in a
statement. 



“NASA astronaut E. Michael “Mike” Fincke has been added to the
crew of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner’s Crew Flight Test, scheduled to launch
later this year,” NASA announced.

NASA astronaut Mike Fincke has been added to
the crew of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner’s Crew Flight Test. He previously
served as an International Space Station flight engineer and science officer on
Expedition 9, and commanded the station on Expedition 18.  Credits: NASA

Boe had been assigned to Starliner’s first mission in the original
announcement made in August 2018 by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. 



“Fincke will begin training immediately alongside NASA’s Nicole Mann and Boeing’s Chris Ferguson, who were both assigned to the mission in August 2018.”
Artist image of the Boeing Starliner spacecraft docking to the
International Space Station. Image credit: Boeing

The first uncrewed test flight of Starliner has been scheduled for
March but that seems almost certain to be delayed as Boeing completes critical
testing and deals with a leaking valve in the abort system. 



Furthermore Boe also will replace Fincke as
the assistant to the chief for commercial crew in the astronaut office at
NASA’s Johnson Space Center.



Boe has been
in training for commercial crew missions for several years since he was
announced as one of the core four astronauts.



Fincke joined the astronaut corps in 1996 and has already flown to
space three times.   



“He previously served as an International Space Station flight
engineer and science officer on Expedition 9, and commanded the station on
Expedition 18. He returned as a mission specialist for the STS-134 crew on
space shuttle Endeavour’s final mission. So far, the Pennsylvania native has
spent 382 days in space and performed nine spacewalks.”

Hull of the Boeing
CST-100 Starliner Structural Test Article (STA)- the first Starliner to be
built in the company’s modernized Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility
high bay at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Boeing and SpaceX
were both awarded commercial crew contracts by NASA in 2014 to develop commercial
spaceships to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.



Boeing was awarded a $4.2 Billion contract
in September 2014 by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to complete development
and manufacture of the CST-100 Starliner space taxi under the agency’s
Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) program and NASA’s Launch
America initiative.

NASA introduced to the
world on Aug. 3, 2018, the first U.S. astronauts who will fly on American-made,
commercial spacecraft to and from the International Space Station – an endeavor
that will return astronaut launches to U.S. soil for the first time since the
space shuttle’s retirement in 2011. The agency assigned nine astronauts to crew
the first test flight and mission of both Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. The astronauts are, from left to right: Sunita Williams,
Josh Cassada, Eric Boe, Nicole Mann, Christopher Ferguson, Douglas Hurley,
Robert Behnken, Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover.  Credits: NASA

The Boeing Starliner will launch atop a two stage United
Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral
Air Force Station, Fl. 



The launch pad is ready and both stages of the
Atlas V rocket have arrive at the Cape and awaits completion of the Boeing Starliner
capsule. 



Meanwhile SpaceX has already completed assembly
of the maiden uncrewed Crew Dragon and conducted a successful static test firing
of the integrated capsule and Falcon 9 rocket days ago on Jan. 24 for the
Demo-1 mission – as I witnessed and reported here. 



Launch of the Demo-1 mission is expected in
March.




SpaceX conducted critical hold down static fire test of
first integrated Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon at 4 PM ET, Jan. 24, 2019 for Demo-1
mission raised vertical at historic Launch Complex 39A in Florid, preparing to
return human spaceflight capabilities to the United States with 1st
uncrewed test flight NET March 2019.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA,
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more space and mission reports direct from
the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and Wallops
Flight Facility, Virginia.



Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human
spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com
–www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com



Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the
KSC area.




………….

Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events



Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.