Boeing Test Flight: Astronaut Steps Down From Mission For 'Personal Reasons'

Boeing Test Flight: Astronaut Steps Down From Mission For 'Personal Reasons'”

In this November 29, 2018 photo made available by NASA, Commercial Crew Program & Boeing Crew Flight Test astronauts Butch Wilmore, left, and Chris Ferguson participate in a flight control simulation for a Boeing CST-100 Starliner capsule at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The test mission will send the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station On a seismic flight to transport astronauts. A Boeing spokeswoman confirmed one is his daughter's wedding.

Its debut uncrewed orbital flight mission in 2019 did not go exactly as planned, requiring it to make another try before putting astronauts on board for the crewed flight test.

As Ferguson withdrew for "personal reason", veteran NASA astronaut Barry "Butch" Wilmore will join astronauts Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann for the Boeing crew flight test, the U.S. space agency said on Wednesday.

"I'm not going anywhere, I'm just not going into space next year", he stated, validating he'll continue to deal with Boeing on the Starliner.

Ferguson left NASA in 2011 to work for Boeing and has spent nearly a decade helping the company develop its commercial spacecraft.

"Stepping down was a hard decision for Chris, but with his leadership and assistance to this point, this crew is positioned for success", Wilmore said in response to the crew change, adding, "We will move forward in the same professional and dedicated manner that Chris has forged".

Wilmore will be joining astronauts Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann for the Boeing Crew Flight Test, which is expected to take place next year. In December 2019, throughout an uncrewed test flight of the auto, substantial software application mistakes triggered the spacecraft's engines to misfire, and the Starliner would up on the incorrect orbital course.

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Boeing had signed a contract with NASA's Commercial Crew Program to fly operational missions to and from the space station with Starliner in 2014.

NASA and Boeing launched a joint probe to look into the failings and came up with 80 recommendations involving testing and simulation, software requirements, process and operational improvements, software updates, and knowledge capture and modifications to Starliner hardware.

"In this role, Ferguson will be one of the last people the crew sees before leaving Earth and one of the first they see upon their return", the NASA statement said.

Boeing said in August it had implemented around 75 percent of the changes.

Wilmore has spent a total of 178 days in space over the course of two missions.

SpaceX has already rolled over its version of the Crew Flight Test - the Experimental task 2, Which transported NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to and from the orbiting lab this summer.

Two NASA test pilots returned to earth in August to close out SpaceX's first crew mission. Since he's technically no longer a NASA astronaut, Ferguson has become the first private citizen to fly a private spacecraft into orbit.

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