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 For medical reasons Boe has been replaced by Mike Fincke.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
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
“Boe is unable to fly due to medical reasons,” NASA announced in a
“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.
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.”
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